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The coming of a new world – Artificial Intelligence

The world is full of many different forms of artificial intelligence. Voice assistants, for instance, Google, Siri and Alexa all use speech recognition, which is a form of AI. Voice typing, machine vision, and language processing are all common forms of AI.

As the spring semester begins, there is a new world that Lipscomb students and faculty are having to navigate. Artificial intelligence is that new world. AI, in simple terms, is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. To learn more about this form of technology, checkout this video:

The latest AI software is taking the internet by storm; ChatGPT. ChatGPT is a chatbot that was developed by a San Francisco-based company called OpenAI in November of 2022. The platform quickly gained attention for its detailed and articulate responses across a wide range of topics. Where does education fit into this?

 A recent report completed by Microsoft on technology and education states that, “Artificial intelligence (AI) gives teachers and schools new ways to understand how students are progressing and allows for highly customized, timely, and targeted curation of content.” 

AI is evolving to help make tedious tasks like answering questions, solving complex problems and even grading essays much easier for the educator. This technology can develop a custom learning experience through analytics. For example, every time a student submits an assignment online or asks a question, the AI can begin gathering this data to develop student learning analytics. This can assist teachers in determining if a student needs extended materials or additional support during the learning process. 

Remote learning is another place for AI to enhance education. Students can get the answers they need more efficiently. It can also allow more time for the teacher to develop a truly individualized educational experience. With many positives, come a few negatives. 

Plagiarism is a major issue in classrooms. ChatGPT and other AI platforms are only making it worse. OpenAI is working on a tool to add watermarks to its generated texts to prevent academic plagiarism or spam. 

Hesitant would be the best way to describe many professor’s feelings toward ChatGPT. Professor and Data Base Administrator in the IT Department, Michelle Putnam, states, “I am concerned about ChatGPT, but I think we can have fun with it.” The most prominent issue for Putnam is the ability to write code. She states, “Since it can write code, a hacker can say, I want it to find the vulnerability in a windows computer.” Malware is a concern. This chat bot could potentially evolve into something that could be used against us. 

New York Public Schools, the nation’s largest school district, has banned ChatGPT from its devices and networks. In return, it has forced institutions to make decisions on whether to embrace the new technology. 

“Students will always have access to it. We have to give teachers a chance to figure out how we are going to use this? What are the ramifications?” she wonders. 

Using ChatGPT as a writing alternative could come with some serious issues. The chat bot has an issue with factuality, especially with local topics. The writer’s human element and style is taken out of the text. 

“Not everything is on the internet. Not everything on the internet is accurate”, Putnam states.

As students and faculty navigate this new world, there is a since of caution. When something new is served at a restaurant, the customer is always hesitant, but most of the time ends up enjoying it. That seems to be true for AI. A new tool in a new world.