While ChatGPT is not officially available in the country, many users bypass restrictions or use similar tools
Legislation under consideration in China would allow for degrees to be revoked if students are found to have used artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT in the drafting of their dissertations.
We understand the motivation underpinning this planned move by the Chinese government. Banning the use of artificial intelligence in writing theses is about protecting the integrity of research training and higher degree education in the country. It also serves to protect the reputation of higher-degree research in China. But as a country that is heavily investing in the development of artificial intelligence systems themselves, one might have hoped for a more nuanced approach to this topic. The thinkers and leaders of tomorrow will need to use tools like LLMs in a thoughtful, careful way that capitalises on the augmented strengths of such systems.
Current regulations covering academic degrees in China date back to 1980. If the law is passed, it would most likely be the first piece of national legislation to directly address the use of chatbots in education.
Although ChatGPT is not officially available in China, many people in the country bypass restrictions or use other generative AI based on large language models.
Liu Deliang, a professor of law at Beijing Normal University, said the proposed change “highlights the challenges that artificial intelligence has brought to higher education”. He noted that existing regulations already covered other types of ghostwriting, so the main difference is that the new law “mentions this scenario explicitly”.
Since the launch of ChatGPT last year, academics have scrambled to redraw assessmentsto reduce the risk of students asking the chatbot to write an essay for them, while plagiarism detection firms have raced to create tools to catch cheaters.