I have struggled with writing a newsletter that I believe might be of interest to others. The old “what could I possibly have to say that someone else hasn’t already said” dilemma. So, it occurred to me (momentarily) to give ChatGPT a try. I say momentarily because it took only a moment to remember exactly who I am and that the ethical implications of the use of ChatGPT were just a little too edgy for my taste.
You see, I believe that there really are no original ideas – rather there are new and provocative ways of evaluating, sharing, and expanding on the thoughts of those who precede us. Therefore, from my understanding of ChatGPT, its use is simply regurgitating what has gone before – nothing new and provocative about that!
Is ChatGPT simply plagiarism? If so, its use is not only potentially illegal, but the ethical implications cannot be ignored.
I am fond of studying ethics and integrity. I strive to do the right thing. Always. As a member of the Institute of Real Estate Management – a professional Institute founded with ethics as its cornerstone – I have pledged to uphold its Code of Ethics. Further, I facilitate the Institute’s Ethics Curriculum for IREM’s members around the United States.
With that said, I find myself questioning the use of ChaptGPT to help me write my newsletter using IREM’s 5 question method:
- Is it Illegal?
- Who is affected?
- What are the consequences?
- How do you feel?
- Have you examined the alternatives?
I will unpack these one by one…..
- Is it Illegal? No, not currently.
- Who is affected? Certainly, I would be affected knowing that I published something that wasn’t mine. My readers would be affected thinking that I had written something that I had not —- would foster a sense of distrust. The originating authors would be affected knowing I had “stolen” their thoughts.
- What are the consequences? As stated above, a sense of distrust. Potentially, an accusation of plagiarism which could affect me legally AND the ability to maintain my membership in the Institute.
- How do I feel? I feel that the use of ChatGPT is a line that I don’t want to cross. My “gut” says don’t do it.
- Have you examined the alternative? Yes, indeed. The alternative is that – no matter how uncomfortable I may feel putting myself – my own thoughts and feelings and words – out there for the world to see —- it beats the alternative of feeling like a fraud.
Suffice it to say that whether you found this interesting or provocative, it IS my own work. And I will continue to write and shar what I hope will be of benefit to you. To your curiosity and your growth. And to helping you to discover your inner self and drive and supporting your bloom…..and your desire to pay it forward to help others.
“Do the right thing, and then one more”