LOS ANGELES — She might not be a fan of using artificial-intelligence services like Alexa and Siri for help, but Waverly Tseng, a University of California Irvine PhD student, is interested in researching ChatGPT, a popular AI chatbot developed by OpenAI that can answer questions with information found on the internet within seconds.

“It’s really shown me a lot of things that I can do to in my own work flow,” Tseng said. “For example, how to create a professional website, which I just recently managed to do.”

There have been reports of people using ChatGPT to write children’s books, recipes, craft emails and more. But there’s still a question of how reliable the information is and how it can be incorporated in classrooms, Tseng noted.

“You can have it serve as a thinking partner when you are writing, when you are brainstorming these different ideas, and I think those are really important uses of the tool, which is really great," she said. "But on the other hand, if you are thinking about making life easier for yourself, as in, ‘I don’t need to do my assignments,’ that gets into these concerns with student learning."

Mark Warschauer, professor of education and founder of the UC Irvine Digital Learning Lab, has been researching the intersection of AI, tech and education for the last 25 years. He sees the use of ChatGPT as a major moment in history, similar to the invention of the printing press and the computer.

“It can generate lesson plans, it can generate explanations of grammatical points. It can generate unit plans, it can generate quizzes. It can give feedback on student writing,” he said. “This is something that anyone who is becoming an English-language teacher will want to know how to use and to use well.”

It can also be used as an educational tool for everyone to use, Warschauer added. He is already planning on having students begin using the platform in an upcoming course in April.

“These are tools that can really promote equity amongst speakers of diverse languages, among people of different intellectual disabilities, and those are reasons why I think we need to pay close attention to them,” he said.

For Tseng, it’s an AI tool she’s starting to get used to.

“The more immersed I’m getting into thinking about AI, thinking about AI in education, really approaching it from this framework of, 'Maybe we should be using it. How can we use it effectively?'" she said.

ChatGPT was first released last November.