Vanderbilt dean suspended for using ChatGPT to email students on MSU shooting: ‘Sick and twisted’

A Vanderbilt University dean decided it would be cool to use the artificial intelligence platform ChatGPT to write an email to students in the wake of the Michigan State University mass shooting but wound up being called out for the “disgusting” note.

Despite proclaiming her love of writing, Nicole Joseph utilized ChatGPT to write the email conveying just how much the university cares for its students, admonishing them to “take care of each other” following the tragedy. She evidently didn’t think that students would read the byline at the bottom of the email that read, “Paraphrase from OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI language model, personal communication, February 15, 2023,” indicating it was not written by a human being.

The recent Michigan shootings are a tragic reminder of the importance of taking care of each other, particularly in the context of creating inclusive environments,” the email read. “As members of the Peabody campus community, we must reflect on the impact of such an event and take steps to ensure that we are doing our best to create a safe and inclusive environment for all,” the email asserted.

“We must continue to engage in conversations about how we can do better, learn from our mistakes, and work together to build a stronger, more inclusive community,” the email read. “In the wake of the Michigan shootings, let us come together as a community to reaffirm our commitment to caring for one another and promoting a culture of inclusivity on our campus. By doing so, we can honor the victims of this tragedy and work towards a safer, more compassionate future for all.”

Ironically, in December, Joseph shared a picture on Facebook that declared her love of writing.

She wrote on December 17, 2022, “Y’all alright this morning? I’m trying to hype myself up to face all the writing I have to do today. I would not have it any other way. It matters when you LOVE what you do. #facultylif.”

Peabody’s Dean of Education Camilla P. Benbow noted in a statement that Joseph and another dean, Hasina Mohyuddin, have temporarily stepped down while the Peabody Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion “reviews” the situation. Both signed the lengthy email letter.

The university has apologized for the AI email that contained 297 words on the MSU shooting. Benbow claims that the “development and distribution” of the email “did not follow Peabody’s normal processes.” She also said that other university administrators were not aware of the email “before it was sent.”

Benbow asserts that she remains “personally saddened by the loss of life and injuries at Michigan State” and that she was “so deeply troubled that a communication from my administration so missed the crucial need for personal connection and empathy during a time of tragedy.”

ChatGPT has become increasingly popular since it came out in November. The artificial intelligence software can create text after receiving writing suggestions. It then pulls from tens of thousands of datasets to produce written content. The results sound very human-like.

A number of people have now pointed out that ChatGPT has a leftist, woke bias as well.

Laith Kayat, a student from Michigan who has a sister who attends MSU, was disturbed by the email and called it “disgusting.”

“There is a sick and twisted irony to making a computer write your message about community and togetherness because you can’t be bothered to reflect on it yourself,” he told the Vanderbilt Hustler.

“[Administrators] only care about perception and their institutional politics of saving face,” Kayat added. “Deans, provosts, and the chancellor: Do more. Do anything. And lead us into a better future with genuine, human empathy, not a robot.”

A sophomore at the university named Samuel Lu told the paper, “It’s hard to take a message seriously when I know that the sender didn’t even take the time to put their genuine thoughts and feelings into words. In times of tragedies such as this, we need more, not less humanity.”

Joseph sent out an email to students on February 17, apologizing for her “poor judgment” in the matter.

“While we believe in the message of inclusivity expressed in the email, using ChatGPT to generate communications on behalf of our community in a time of sorrow and in response to a tragedy contradicts the values that characterize Peabody College,” she groveled, according to Buzzfeed News. “As with all new technologies that affect higher education, this moment gives us all an opportunity to reflect on what we know and what we still must learn about AI.”

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