Many keyboard keys have been pressed on the effect of AI text generation tools on various industries. I offered my two negative cents in posts about the use of AI in search and for image generation. But what about the “contract cheating” industry? Let us turn to a euphemistically titled article by Rest of World: AI is taking the jobs of Kenyans who write essays for U.S. college students:
For the past nine years, Collins, a 27-year-old freelance writer, has been making money by writing assignments for students in the U.S. — over 8,500 miles away from Nanyuki in central Kenya, where he lives. He is part of the ‘contract cheating’ industry, known locally as simply ‘academic writing.’ Collins writes college essays on topics including psychology, sociology, and economics. Occasionally, he is even granted direct access to college portals, allowing him to submit tests and assignments, participate in group discussions, and talk to professors using students’ identities. In 2022, he made between $900 and $1,200 a month from this work.
What could go wrong with this honest line of work? AI, apparently:
Lately, however, his earnings have dropped to $500–$800 a month. Collins links this to the meteoric rise of ChatGPT and other generative artificial intelligence tools.
This article reminded me of a quote attributed to the former U.S. Secretary of State, Mr. Henry Kissinger, about the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s:
It’s a pity they can’t both lose.
(Lest anyone interpret my desire to see great losses in the AI text generation vs contract cheating battle as exonerating cheating students, I admired my favorite college professor for stating that his response to catching students cheating would be to hound them until they dropped out of school.)