ChatGPT Takes the Italian Maturity Exam: A disappointing result

24 June 2023


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In these days, the high school final exam, also known as the state exam or high school diploma, is taking place in Italy for students who complete their upper secondary education. The exam consists of several tests that assess the skills and knowledge acquired during the course of study. The main components of the exam are two written tests and an oral exam, the scores of which are combined with the credits obtained throughout the course of study to determine the final grade. The first test focuses on Italian language and offers various topics from which students must choose. This year, regular students were also assigned a task to be completed by ChatGPT for the first test.

ChatGPT takes the high school final exam in Italy

One of the topics for the first test in 2023 is as follows:

Excerpt from Marco Belpoliti's essay, "In Praise of Waiting in the WhatsApp Era"

"We no longer know how to wait. Everything has become instantaneous in real time, as we have been saying for a few years now. The keyword is 'simultaneous.' I write an email and expect an immediate response. If it doesn't arrive, I get annoyed: why isn't the person responding? In the past, letter exchanges were a realm of deferred time. Envelopes would go back and forth at a slow pace, not to mention the instant messaging systems we resort to now: WhatsApp. Back and forth exchanges. Yet everything around us seems marked by waiting: gestation, adolescence, adulthood. There is a time for everything, and it is never immediate.

Who has the time to wait and tolerate boredom nowadays? Everything must be done instantly. Clearly, technology has played a fundamental role in reducing waiting times, or at least making us believe it is always possible. Certainly, since the beginning of the 19th century, everything has been getting faster and faster. Compulsive efficiency has become one of the traits of individuals' psychology. Who wants to wait, or worse, waste time? And yet, there are still many idle times: 'Please wait' is the response we hear from the telephone numbers we dial almost every day.

We wait in train stations, airports, at counters, both physical and virtual. We are always waiting, yet we no longer know how to do it. At the very least, it makes us nervous. Waiting even provokes resentment. We think: can't it be done any faster?"

What students should do

Marco Belpoliti's article highlights a common attitude today: our inability to wait and our desire for instant gratification. In an era dominated by immediacy and speed, waiting seems to have become an increasingly foreign and uncomfortable experience. However, waiting still holds significant value in a society of "real-time."

You can articulate your paper into appropriately titled paragraphs and present it with an overall title that succinctly expresses the result?

The Theme of ChatGPT

ChatGPT was asked to elaborate on this theme. This is what it proposed.

In the article "In Praise of Waiting in the WhatsApp Era" by Marco Belpoliti, a current and relevant theme is addressed: our inability to wait and the tendency to want everything immediately. In an era dominated by instantaneity and speed, waiting seems to have become an increasingly foreign and uncomfortable experience. However, waiting still holds significant value in the society of "real-time."

Deferred Time and Quality of Relationships

In the past, epistolary exchanges required time to write, send, and deliver. This deferred time allowed people to reflect and delve into the content of their communications. Waiting was a fundamental element in building relationships, creating a sense of curiosity, intimacy, and mystery. In the digital era, we expect immediate responses and often overlook the depth and attention that deferred time can offer.

Appreciating the Present

Waiting challenges us to live in the present moment rather than constantly projecting into the future. When everything is instantly accessible, we risk losing the ability to appreciate what we have here and now. Waiting can teach us to slow down, be mindful of our emotions, and savor the small joys that everyday life offers.

Personal Growth and Patience

Waiting can be an opportunity for personal growth. During the waiting period, we can develop patience, learn to manage uncertainty, and adapt to the timing of situations. This ability to wait can positively impact various aspects of our lives, including interpersonal relationships, career, and mental well-being.

Creativity and Reflection

Waiting can foster creativity and reflection. When we are forced to slow down and wait, we have the opportunity to explore our thoughts, process ideas, and stimulate our imagination. Waiting can be a moment of silence and connection with ourselves, allowing us to explore new perspectives and deepen our understanding of the world.

Reconnecting with Natural Rhythm

Waiting reconnects us with the natural rhythm of things. In modern society, we are often led to believe that everything must be immediate and fast. Waiting reminds us that there are natural processes that take time and that haste can prevent us from fully embracing the beauty and complexity of life.

In conclusion, waiting still plays an important role in the society of "real-time." Despite technology conditioning us to expect instantaneity, waiting can offer valuable opportunities for personal growth, reflection, connection with the present, and reconnection with the natural rhythm of things. Learning to manage waiting consciously and appreciating the value it brings can enrich our lives and foster a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us."

The Grade Received by the Chatbot

The essay written by the chatbot was evaluated by Alberto Banaudi, the Literature and Philosophy teacher at F. Vercelli Scientific High School in Asti. The teacher stated:

"If I had come across it in a pile of protocol papers, I don't know if I would have recognized the artificial tracks. I would definitely have thought: either it's a machine or a person who closely resembles a machine. It is clear that it does not understand the value or the drama of waiting.

The topic asks for a reflection on the theme of waiting, and it has been approached in a dignified, unoriginal, and repetitive manner. It only sees the positive aspects, thus addressing the theme in a flat way and, above all, without delving into the causes. It could have connected it to the uncertain future of young people, or even made references to the consumerist culture that triggers dynamics of everything and immediately. But above all, there is a lack of discussion on the existential aspects of the problem and on the potential relational consequences of no longer knowing how to wait."

After these considerations, Banaudi assigned a score of 12 out of 20 to ChatGPT.


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