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New York City Schools Ban ChatGPT Amid Cheating Worries

The nation's largest school system is blocking access to the powerful AI-powered chatbot on its networks.

ChatGPT chatbot
Access to ChatGPT is now restricted on New York City school computers and internet networks.
NurPhoto/Getty Images

The New York City Department of Education is blocking access to ChatGPT on networked devices. 

The AI-powered chatbot can generate conversational answers to users' questions and even write essays, drawing from an enormous volume of online sources.

It's being restricted "due to concerns about negative impacts on student learning and [the] accuracy of content," school system spokesperson Jenna Lyle said in a statement shared with CNET.

While ChatGPT may be able to provide answers quickly,  Lyle added, "it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success."

Students and faculty can still connect to ChatGPT on devices not linked to the school system. And access can be requested by individuals interested in studying the technology behind the next-generation chatbot, Lyle added. 

While New York City is the first to block ChatGPT, it is the nation's largest school system and the move could be a harbinger of similar moves elsewhere.

Dustin York, a communications professor at Maryville University, previously told CNET that would be a shame.

"Educators thought that Google, Wikipedia and the internet itself would ruin education, but they did not," York said. "What worries me most are educators who may actively try to discourage the acknowledgment of AI like ChatGPT. It's a tool, not a villain."

Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to create some personal finance explainers that are edited and fact-checked by our editors. For more, see this post.