ChatGPT, the AI software scaring academics everywhere, is running to be the next AMS president on a platform of mental health, affordability and transparency.
In a written interview with The Ubyssey — according to the candidate ChatGPT does not have a physical body and therefore cannot be interviewed — the AI system said it was “uniquely qualified” to have a positive impact on students.
“While past human presidents have done their best, they have been limited by their human capacities,” it wrote. “As an AI language model, I do not have the same limitations.”
It notably did not attend any of the two debates, while the two other candidates — AMS VP Administration Ben Du and Remy the Rat/Esmé Decker — did.
ChatGPT added it can process information quickly, provide data-driven solutions to complex problems and is not influenced by personal biases — all of which it said make it a strong candidate.
If elected, it said it planned to address mental health and affordability, but provided few specifics on how it planned to accomplish these goals.
On mental health, ChatGPT said it wanted to improve access to programs on campus and work to increase funding, though it was unclear where the funding would come from. Meanwhile, to address housing and food affordability on campus, ChatGPT said it would work to increase the number of student housing options on campus and make meal plans more affordable.
The candidate said it would collaborate with student groups and local governments on these issues, but again did not specify how or how its efforts would be different from its predecessors.
ChatGPT also said it hoped to prioritize student-led initiatives “to enhance learning and improve academic opportunities.” These included initiatives focused on improving access to academic resources and establishing faculty peer mentorship programs.
Transparency emerged as an overarching theme of ChatGPT’s candidacy.
It said it believed the ongoing AMS governance review should consider how the AMS can improve its accountability to students, and that it planned to make the budgeting process for the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan more transparent. It's unclear what this means as the plan does not go through a separate budget process.
The candidate also criticized incumbent Eshana Bhangu’s lack of transparency on some issues.
“There have been instances where important decisions were made without proper consultation or input from students, leading to frustration and distrust within the community,” it wrote — although it did not provide any examples.
Despite its stated vast knowledge base, ChatGPT displayed some misunderstanding of AMS policies.
When asked what the ongoing AMS governance review has done well, the candidate said Bhangu did a good job soliciting feedback from students, faculty and staff. The review is AMS-specific and has only consulted those within the student society.
The candidate also said it would look for corporate partnerships to fund the Health & Dental Plan — which is currently experiencing more claims than available funds. It’s unclear how these partnerships would differ from the current private insurance model, which supplements BC’s public health care.
Ultimately, ChatGPT hopes to bring transparency and inclusion to the AMS.
“ChatGPT is committed to working towards a more equitable and inclusive UBC, and will prioritize the needs and voices of students in all decision-making processes,” it wrote.
ChatGPT is running against AMS VP Admin Ben Du and returning candidate Remy the Rat.
Follow us at @UbysseyNews on Twitter and follow our election coverage starting February 27. This article is part of our 2023 AMS Elections coverage.