Remarks by President Wu at the 2023 Commencement Ceremony

Graduates, parents, families and friends, and faculty members, good morning.

Today we celebrate the commencement of the academic year 2022-23. On behalf of National Taiwan Normal University, I am delighted to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all our graduating students and your families and friends. I also want to thank our faculty members for your tireless dedication; your support and encouragement along the way have filled the academic life of our students with the warmest memories.

Graduates of this year are very different from those of the past. During your study at NTNU, two major historical events occurred.

First, there was the COVID-19 pandemic. This probably affected our undergraduates far more than our graduate students. In September 2019, you embarked on your academic journey at NTNU filled with tremendous excitement. However, that period of joy lasted only six months, at the end of which the mandates on mask use and social distancing, the prohibition on large-scale events, and the implementation of distance learning all took effect. Everyone had to wait anxiously for the latest announcements concerning “NTNU's Pandemic Safety Measures.”

Even so, you did not allow your studies to be disrupted; you quickly adapted to the new situation and became adept at self-directed learning. At the end of last year, things finally returned to normal. But when you took off your masks, we suddenly realized how quickly you had grown: in the blink of an eye, our innocent freshmen had become mature seniors. You braved a major disaster with resilience and fortitude to complete your studies and obtain your degree at NTNU. I am so proud of you.

Second, there was the appearance of ChatGPT at the end of 2022, a milestone in the evolution of AI. Dear students, right after you devoted four years of your lives to your studies, you are now being told that everything you've learned can easily be found on ChatGPT. You all know this is not true. I will let you in on a secret: I attempted to prepare today’s speech using ChatGPT. But trust me, ChatGPT is simply unable to write such a speech as this. I wrote it myself!

You are all digital natives, having grown up in the digital age. You are also very proficient in the use of information technology, thanks in part to the IT skills you acquired at NTNU. In the future, no doubt there will be other tools similar to ChatGPT; they will be even more powerful, and will be able to help you even more. But I must remind you that as you use AI, you must not lose sight of your humanity and the importance of basic human kindness and decency.

I firmly believe that the two historical major events I have just described have made you even stronger and more resilient, and that you are now fully prepared to embrace the next phase of your life. Your future achievements and contributions to society will surely be the glory of NTNU.

I wish you all a happy graduation and the best of luck in your future endeavors.