Education Ministry Mulling ChatGPT Guidelines for Schools

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A ChatGPT data input page is seen on a computer screen.

The education ministry is considering creating guidelines for schools on the use of ChatGPT, a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) tool capable of generating natural sentences in response to questions, according to sources.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Concerns have grown as ChatGPT can create book reviews and other reports instantly, prompting the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry to list concerning cases in Japan and abroad and present points to keep in mind.

ChatGPT was released free to the public by a U.S. startup last November. Since then, its use has spread rapidly. While such AI tools are expected to improve business efficiency, there have been concerns in Japan and overseas that it may have adverse effects on education.

For example, when instructed to compose an essay on “Kokoro” written by Soseki Natsume, ChatGPT immediately generates sentences, such as, “I became aware that some people have conflict and suffering and also learned the importance of understanding others.”

It is difficult to distinguish whether the sentences have been created by AI. Some educators have voiced their concerns over the spread of ChatGPT.

“It makes it difficult for us to teach essay writing,” said the principal of a municipal junior high school in Tokyo.

The Kanagawa board of education has begun to consider how to handle AI tools.

In March, the Italian authorities announced a temporary ban on the use of ChatGPT out of concern over the protection of users’ personal information.

The education ministry intends to put forth guidelines as soon as possible after consulting with experts on the matter.

“The easy use of AI could have a negative impact on education, which is intended to cultivate one’s ability to think and express oneself through such methods as essay writing and learning through inquiry, so the education ministry should speed up efforts to devise appropriate guidelines,” said Hiroyuki Masukawa, a professor at the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo, who specializes in the science of learning.