What ChatGPT is, and why it has some Michigan school staff concerned 

The expansion of machine learning may ease the way many of us do work, but should we be concerned about it? Two reporters explain. 

close up of a computer keyboard

ChatGPT (short for Generative Pre-training Transformer) is an increasingly popular chatbot that delivers a written, formulated response based on a prompt given to it by humans. Some are concerned in Michigan that ChatGPT is helping students cheat on their homework assignments and essays, and software has even been developed to detect the work of ChatGPT to prevent this from happening.

Alternatively, some teachers are pleased that they can use the software to more effectively foster ideas and expand student thinking.

So, can ChatGPT be used to help students build a deeper understanding of a variety of topics or is it more likely to be abused, and shortcut the academic experience?

“It could be a really nice helper tool when trying to write something to come up with ideas, but it is not a correct answer machine.”— Will Oremus, Washington Post reporter

Listen: Can artificial intelligence be an effective tool for facilitating creativity?



Ron French is an enterprise reporter and associate editor for Bridge Michigan. He says some teachers are trying to adapt to ChatGPT’s use and view it as a helper providing guidance and inspiration to its users.

“Many of the teachers I spoke to said that they had run into papers that had been turned in that they felt were likely written by this sort of technology as opposed to the individual,” French said. “It is a tool we need to figure out how to use in a way to give an opportunity to teach more about writing, maybe this gives a start for a story.” 

Will Oremus is a technology reporter for the Washington Post, and has written a lot about AI and ChatGPT. He says ChatGPT’s technology is an improvement on the software many of us use every day.

“ChatGPT is smarter than the auto complete that we have today in email, but it’s the same principle: it’s guessing what someone might plausibly say on a certain topic.”

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.
  • Sam Corey
    Sam Corey is a producer for The Metro on 101.9 WDET. In that role, he goes out in search of fun and interesting stories for radio. He enjoys salsa dancing — and actual salsa.