Did I Cheat?

– when I used ChatGPT to write last week’s DNL?

Or am I using AI as a tool?
Another one of those Dan’s New Leaf Posts, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . .

If you haven’t been following this blog, you may not have noticed that:

  1. I set a goal to write a weekly blog.
  2. I called this goal, and the blog, “Dan’s New Leaf.”
  3. I wrote a rather long article on how I don’t think AI can replace cybersecurity professionals.
  4. I then, “in a fit of ironic cyberpoetry,” prompted ChatGPT to summarize that article.

And then, I posted it, as my next weekly article.  I disclosed it, hoping our Readers would see the irony of my using ChatGPT to summarize an article about how AI will make us better, and not replace us.

I admit, I hadn’t come up with anything yet.

But was that cheating?

I started playing music when my mom received a Hammond organ for Christmas.  I was in third grade. 

Fast forward to the mid-1980s – through my learning to play that organ, the piano, a trombone, guitar, harmonica, and who knows what other instruments.  How did I learn to play so many instruments?  I didn’t stick with one until I was good.  Other than the trombone, which was my instrument from 4th to 12th grade, I just played around until I learned to make up my own songs. I was okay with being “not-that-great” with any one instrument.  But this also meant I never became good enough to play “other people’s music.”

But I didn’t care.  “I’m not aiming to be a rock star,” I would tell people.  I just liked making up songs.

But there . . . in the mid-1980’s . . . you’d find me complaining about all the “computer music” in the new wave and subsequent music styles.  In fact, it’s why I would say over and over, “Video killed the radio star.”

While I loved synthesizers (Moogy Klingman, man), I felt it was disingenuous to be able to play a whole song with one press of a button.  I always imagined these musicians on a stage, holding their finger up high, then bringing it down on the keyboard, then walking away.  Who wanted to see that?  (Apparently millions of people.)

I would use air quotes when I said “music,” referring to bands exploiting the Musical Instrument Digital Interface.  I made sure the keyboards I bought did NOT have MIDI capabilities.  

I felt Rick Wakeman was a great musician, and Kitaro was just cheating.   Don’t get me wrong, Kitaro’s “New Age music” was very soothing to listen to, but it was all computers.

Then I got a computer.

If you’ve seen any of our movies, or listened to any of my podcasts, you’ve heard digital “music” that was “written”, “produced”, and “played” by Dan Hadaway.  Thirty-five years after I bought my first computer, I still make up songs, and I still avoid playing “other people’s music,” which I have taken to abbreviate as “OPM,” when I discuss it with friends who are actually good at playing their particular instrument.

And do you want to know something about the music you hear in our webinars and podcasts?  I can play each song . . . the whole song . . . just by pressing one button on my keyboard (and walking away).

If you’ve seen the risk assessment song, you’ll note there are two people playing.  One of them (the guitarist named Michael Kelsey) is a professional.  While the song is fun (and still applies today!), it is an amateur song, made up by a professional IT Auditor while he was driving back and forth to small banks in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.   (Interstate 65 alone gets you thinking about risk.). But as a professional cybersecurity person, I believed strongly we needed EVERYBODY to do a risk assessment.  So strongly, I was willing to risk embarrassment at our customer appreciation event, and thus the amateur song about risk assessing

And while what we’re putting in our movies is the best of at least 400 songs I’ve created since the 80s, even the best of my best would be 100% better if I was a professional musician.  Digital music made me a better amateur, but real musicians are as numerous now as they were before the 1980s, if not more.  And while we’re all getting tired of the same new digital music, over and over, using the same gimmicks and melodies and sounds as we’ve heard all our lives, we still go to live venues to see REAL musicians play REAL music.  It’s why Youtube videos mimicking computer music go viral.  We spend a lot of time and money watching real musicians play both OPM and their own music.

In short, MIDI did not replace the musician.


I prompted ChatGPT like this:

“Speak to the fact that when somebody uses artificial intelligence, they could be cheating.  For example,  I write a weekly article. I had you summarize a real long article for me, which I posted as the next week’s article.  Did I cheat when I used ChatGPT to write the second article?  I did disclose, at the beginning of the article, that I had used ChatGPT to summarize my article.

But was that cheating? “

It returned a wall of text, so I prompted it to reduce its reply to one paragraph.  Here’s the response:

“Using artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT to write an article can be a subjective matter when it comes to cheating. Transparency is crucial, and in your case, you disclosed using ChatGPT in the article. Ethical considerations and maintaining integrity in your work are important, but the acceptance of AI assistance in various fields is growing. Ultimately, whether it is considered cheating depends on the context, audience expectations, and any guidelines or rules set by the platform or publication involved.”

We are going to enable comments for Dan’s New Leaf.  I would love to know what you think: 

Did I cheat?

Original article by Dan Hadaway CRISC CISA CISM. Founder and Information Architect, infotex

Dan’s New Leaf” – a fun blog to inspire thought in  IT Governance.


4 Responses

  1. Great article Dan! I love the musical references.
    As far as AI is concerned, I guess we can look at it as a tool like spell or grammar check on steroids. Is using spell check cheating?
    My concern with AI is that like all other technologies, how is it going to be exploited for nefarious purposes? We all know it will be exploited.

    Full disclosure: I used spell check to correct “nefarious”. 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comment Doug. And I agree with your point about AI risk. Love the spellchecker analogy.

    Disclosure: I didn’t type this up. I talked it in using the neural network called Siri.

    Raises a good question- When will we get to a point where we don’t have to disclose that we are using AI (or spellcheckers, for that matter?)

  3. Yes, that was a great article Dan. The long article gave much more context and meaning to your point. I don’t think having ChatGPT summarize it was cheating, it was actually interesting to see the output. Disclosure is part of the process of introducing change I think. The only problem that I have with Al is that since everyone calls me “AL”, when I see “Al” I think they are talking to me… so I am going to start using the capital L in reference to my nickname…. I wish they would use the small i in Ai…

  4. LOL. Yes. Sometimes my failing eyes will see Al and I think it’s AI, and the other way around. Thanks for your comment!

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