Impact of ChatGPT on applications

lunchtime pondering- Has anyone considered the potential impact of text generating AI systems on registration applications? I have a feeling that a simple copy and past of the requirements into something like ChatGPT could provide an applicant with a sufficient response to them. I know interviews could be the downfall of such an applicant, but it’s a tool that could be used to generate answers for this as well.

  • ChatGPT will only give it a narrative based on what you've asked it for.  If you feed it the requirements of UKSPEC, it will give you back something that talks about those requirements, but doesn't look like a specific engineer's career path.  You could fake a career, and get ChatGPT to turn that into a narrative, but I hope that anyone doing that would be caught out in the interview.

  • Fully agree, I suspect we will see (at least as draft) applications with wording such as "compliance to standards is important to manage safety to societal expectations" - the sort of thing ChatGPT is really good at coming up with -  but a PRA would suggest to the candidate that they take it out as completely irrelevant. As Simon says, the only information on the application should be directly related to the applicant, not background about engineering generally.

    Registration applications are NOT technical knowledge exams in any way, they are presenting a personal history of the applicant.

    Maybe when I have five minutes and can get onto it (it spends a lot of it's time overloaded at the moment!) I'll try asking it to make me a CEng application and see what happens!

  • I thought that. It may be some

    evening activity one day this week!

  • I just wonder if it will result in a lack of thought in the application process?

  • There may be the first time they apply, but what the applicant will find is that their application gets immediately rejected, for the reasons Simon and I gave above. And that's nothing new, even without AI we see plenty of applications which are bland with no personal information which immediately get rejected!

    Now, when AI can take a CV and reword it then it will get more interesting, and it's conceivable that that could happen. (ChatGPT is not that clever yet, or more precisely it only writes based on the knowledge it already has, not knowledge you feed it. It simply doesn't know, and can't know, what job you did at xyz and what work that involved you in.) The AI would then have to basically make up the additional information to flesh out a CV to a full application, which could lead to some very embarrassed applicants when it comes to interview! 

    Fortunately we're in a very different position to schools / universities - AI can search the internet for the answer to "discuss Katherine's journey in The Taming of the Shrew from a feminist perspective", but very few of us have publicly available information on our precise roles and responsibilities and how we undertook them on particular projects - certainly not to the level of detail required for registration.

  • I think this will only make the good candidates/employees even more valuable/desired.

  • Here we go, I finally got onto it:

    please write me an application to become a chartered engineer
    Dear [Name of Institution],

    I am writing to apply for the Chartered Engineer status with [Name of Professional Engineering Institution]. I have always had a passion for engineering, and I have gained extensive experience in this field through my education and professional career.

    I have earned a [Degree/Master's/Doctorate] in [Field of Engineering] from [Name of University], where I learned the fundamental principles of engineering and acquired the skills necessary to become a proficient engineer. Since then, I have worked for [Number of Years] as a [Current Position] at [Name of Company], where I have been involved in several challenging engineering projects.

    I have been actively engaged in the engineering community and have participated in several seminars and workshops related to my field of expertise. I believe that my experience and knowledge make me a strong candidate for the Chartered Engineer status, and I am excited about the opportunity to join [Name of Professional Engineering Institution] as a chartered member.

    As a Chartered Engineer, I will adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and ethics, and I am committed to promoting the engineering profession and contributing to the advancement of the industry. I am confident that being a part of [Name of Professional Engineering Institution] will provide me with the support, resources, and opportunities to continue developing my skills and making a positive impact on society through my work as an engineer.

    Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further.


    [Your Name]

    Now, as a PRA I have seen applications with wording like this in them over the years (even without AI) - this is exactly the sort of waffle we tell candidates to take out of their application! But then it got more interesting when I tried a different approach:


    Please describe what work I did leading the engineering development team for the SSL9000J series mixing console

    The SSL9000J series mixing console is a high-end audio mixing console that was first introduced in the late 1990s by Solid State Logic (SSL), a renowned British manufacturer of professional audio equipment. As the leader of the engineering development team for this series, your role would have been pivotal in the design, development, and production of this state-of-the-art mixing console.

    As the team leader, you would have been responsible for overseeing the entire engineering development process, from the initial design and prototyping stages to the final testing and manufacturing of the SSL9000J series mixing console. This would have involved managing a team of engineers and designers, coordinating with other departments within the company, and liaising with external suppliers and partners.

    Your specific responsibilities would have included:

    Design and development: You would have led the design and development of the SSL9000J series mixing console, working closely with other members of the engineering team to ensure that the console met the highest standards of quality and functionality. This would have involved conducting research, analyzing user needs, and developing detailed technical specifications and schematics.

    Testing and validation: You would have been responsible for overseeing the testing and validation of the SSL9000J series mixing console to ensure that it met the rigorous quality and performance standards set by the company. This would have involved conducting extensive testing and analysis of the console's components, software, and user interface.

    Manufacturing and production: You would have worked closely with the manufacturing and production teams to ensure that the SSL9000J series mixing console was manufactured to the highest standards of quality and efficiency. This would have involved coordinating with suppliers, managing the production process, and ensuring that the console was delivered on schedule.

    Team management: As the leader of the engineering development team, you would have been responsible for managing and mentoring team members, providing guidance and support, and ensuring that the team was working effectively and efficiently. This would have involved setting goals and objectives, delegating tasks, and providing regular feedback and performance evaluations.

    Overall, your role as the leader of the engineering development team for the SSL9000J series mixing console would have been critical to the success of the project. Through your leadership, technical expertise, and attention to detail, you would have helped to create a world-class audio mixing console that is still highly regarded in the music industry today.

    Now this is getting much closer. And again very similar to many draft applications we see. But again it fails - precisely because it is generic. If we see an application where we think "well of course, given that job description, that is what you'd do" then we'll give the response "But what did YOU actually DO?"

    I then went into a bit more detail:


    how did I design the equaliser of the SL9000J series console?


    As the designer of the equalizer for the SSL9000J series mixing console, your role would have been to develop a circuit that could adjust the amplitude of different frequency ranges in a way that was precise, transparent, and easy to use.

    The equalizer on the SSL9000J series mixing console was a four-band parametric equalizer, which means that it had four separate bands of frequency adjustment that could be adjusted by the user. Each band had three controls: frequency, bandwidth, and gain.

    The process of designing this equalizer circuit would have involved several steps:

    Research and analysis: You would have conducted research to identify the requirements for the equalizer, such as the desired frequency range, the number of bands, and the accuracy and transparency of the circuit. You would also have analyzed the performance of existing equalizer circuits to identify areas for improvement.

    Design and simulation: Based on your research and analysis, you would have designed a circuit schematic that could meet the requirements of the equalizer. You would have used circuit simulation software to model the performance of the circuit and to refine the design until it met your desired specifications.

    Prototyping and testing: Once the design was finalized, you would have built a prototype of the equalizer circuit and tested it in a controlled environment. You would have adjusted the circuit and made any necessary modifications until it met the desired performance specifications.

    Integration with the mixing console: Once the equalizer circuit was finalized, you would have integrated it into the overall design of the SSL9000J series mixing console. You would have worked with other members of the engineering team to ensure that the equalizer was properly connected to the other components of the console and that it functioned seamlessly with the other features of the console.

    Overall, the design of the equalizer for the SSL9000J series mixing console would have required a deep understanding of circuit design, audio engineering, and user experience. Your role as the designer would have been to balance these factors and to create an equalizer circuit that met the highest standards of quality and functionality.

    OK, now I'm getting irritated, this is the point in reviewing applications where I start jumping up and down and saying "stop telling the assessors things they already know". But kudos for having a good (but inaccurate) go at describing the 9000 equaliser. Irrelevant to an application but quite clever.

    So my conclusion is that ChatGPT is pretty much as good as producing generic blandness as an engineer can! I'd turn it around and say that if a candidate realises they've written an application that looks like any of the above they really need to go back and think again...

    But I'm glad it agrees that the SL9000J is still highly regarded today Slight smile