Machine learning is the driving force of AI. It allows humans to essentially teach software in a matter of weeks what a human would take decades to learn. AI and machine learning are changing the world we live in and altering the way we do things.
This also extends to essay writing. Writing was long considered an area that was relatively untouchable by AI and machine learning, but open-source software like OpenAI is demonstrating that this is far from true.
However, students who believe this is a silver bullet to replace an expert essay pro are failing to understand the limitations of machine learning. Some grad students have already learned this the hard way.
So, what do students need to learn about using machine learning for essay writing?
The Grad Student Who Tried to Write an Essay with Machine Learning
Tiago, a master’s student in business, decided to try machine learning to write two essays for his final course. He used the neural network AI algorithm GPT-2 to write two essays. Although he passed, he made it clear that the essays did not go above and beyond. He gained one of the lowest scores of the 80% of students who passed.
This demonstrates the limitations of machine learning. Students should not assume they can simply press a button and they are guaranteed a high grade.
What’s Machine Learning Used for Today?
Machine learning is being used to write articles in the mainstream news media. The Associated Press uses it to write hundreds of sports news reports every single week. The acquired logic of artificial intelligence is sufficient to produce an article on some sports news, but the results are extremely unoriginal.
The reality is machine learning is yet to master complex relationships or become capable of creating original, creative arguments. This makes artificial intelligence a problem because it simply cannot meet the standards demanded of an academic essay.
Should Students Use Machine Learning for Essay Writing?
Natural Language Generation (NLG) is considered the gold standard for creating pieces of writing that sound like they were written by a human. The technology remains limited, as Tiago discovered when using it for his own academic essays.
Students can utilize machine learning to create a basic format for their papers, but the technology still needs significant oversight. It should be considered an initial steppingstone, rather than a complete solution.
What is the Future for Machine Learning?
It is quite possible that machine learning will advance to a point where it is capable of mastering academic writing. In fact, many experts in the field would consider it inevitable, but that reality is still many years away.
In theory, machine learning will be able to ensure artificial intelligence can not only match humans in any task but surpass them. However, this depends on putting in the right data into the machine learning algorithms.
The main barrier to machine learning taking prominence is inputting creativity into the process. As it stands, it is limited by the fact it can only follow a formula. This makes it entirely unsuitable for relatively simplistic articles.
Machine learning is extremely powerful on a local level, such as mimicking the style of a writer. However, the issue is it often comes out with extremely weird, non-sensical results. This makes it incapable of producing something from nothing.
Students who want to throw their books away may want to hold off because machine learning cannot provide a high grade every single time. Machine learning remains highly experimental and much of its functionality remains in the development stages.
In the meantime, students who need help with their essays should consider getting professional help from an expert in their subject. This will offer them the targeted direction they need to improve their grades and achieve their goals.
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