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Friend or foe? Discussion about AI in the classroom.


“Introducing AI in classrooms sparks ethical concerns. Privacy, bias, and the digital divide must be addressed, and protecting student data, ensuring fairness, and providing equal access are vital. Ethical AI integration in education requires balancing innovation with responsibility.”


Now for the twist. That entire introductory paragraph, all 37 words of it, was created solely by ChatGPT.


You may be completely shocked right now, or this revelation may be completely unsurprising. It probably depends on how much interaction you’ve had with AI language models in the past, or how many times you’ve heard this exact discussion on the ethics of AI assisted composition.


This is an opinion piece, of course, so it’s entirely subjective and informed by my own experiences.


I am generally a big fan of all types of scientific innovation. I never go outside unless I have to, and am an unapologetic Apple sycophant. I’ll be the last person to bemoan cell phones and the destruction of proper in-person human interaction. I’m a true techie in enthusiasm if not in skills, but AI scares even me.


Don’t get me wrong, I see it as a tool with enormous potential to assist academics and creatives. As you can see above, its power for composition is insane, and I think it could be put to very good use in many circumstances. But the trend we’re increasingly seeing is AI taking over these aspects of creation. Artificial intelligence can write a perfectly suitable college essay with only a few minor human tweaks, and if any student can just tell a machine like this to do so, that’s a problem for obvious reasons.


I will always be in favor of providing students as many resources as possible, especially as someone with a disability who struggles with writing these huge papers, but I think the capabilities of AI use in the classroom need to be strongly curtailed. I see no problems with seeking inspiration for a paper or formatting an outline with help from a machine, but the instant that it starts to take the “creative” out of your “creative work,” you just end up with “work,” except instead of being paid for it you’re going into tens of thousands of dollars of student debt.


The power of AI is incredibly intriguing and not yet fully realized, but it poses many dangers in the classroom to the point where I look upon its academic use unfavorably. It can certainly be helpful in an educational setting, but there are so many more ways it can be used to fake assignments in a way that hurts both students and teachers. An excess of caution is my ideal method here, and an excess of caution demands that we keep abuse of ChatGPT to purely recreational activities. 

Fin Walling is from Minneapolis, MN. Walling’s major is undeclared.