The Influence of AI: Both in and Outside of the Classroom

As online college classes become a new normal, Artificial Intelligence usage has skyrocketed. After speaking with the administration, teachers, and students at Chabot College, I have gathered their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with AI both in and outside of the classroom.

From an ethical standpoint, AI usage in education is widely considered cheating. In a survey conducted by BestColleges, a website that provides academic and career resources for college students, out of 1,000 undergrad and graduate college students, 51% stated that AI constitutes plagiarism. Additionally, 41% stated that using AI for exams and assignments is morally wrong. A survey I conducted of 15 Chabot College students yielded similar results. In the survey of Chabot students, 68% stated that they believe using AI is plagiarism. 

The use of AI to write essays, solve problems, and essentially do your work for you seemed to be the common reason for this result. One student stated, “It’s like hiring someone else to write your work for you.”

Another Chabot student shared a different opinion, saying, “To be honest, it’s a mix. You can cheat, yet also it can help you.”

One of the AI tools, ChatGPT, is familiar to many college students and staff. ChatGPT is a generative AI website that can provide answers or statements based on keywords or a prompt that the user enters. This is an example of generative AI. According to a study done in early 2023 by Intelligent, a news source for students, about 30% of college students use this program. Out of those students, 46% use it for homework and other assignments. These statistics made me curious about how Chabot instructors feel about AI usage in their classrooms. 

One Chabot College instructor mentioned that “students don’t even try to proofread and revise [their work] to personalize it for the particular assignment!”

Despite ChatGPT being one of the most popular generative AI sites, another form of generative AI rising in popularity is image creators. Similar to ChatGPT, you can put in a description or prompt of an image you’d like to create, and within seconds, you will have a computer-generated image. 

A robot working diligently at a desk, equipped with a laptop and a book, showcasing its multitasking abilities while actual human students are sitting in the back doing school work.
AI generated image that used this article as the prompt, by Bing Image Creator

One student voiced their concerns about artistic integrity with the use of AI image creators. “Not a fan at all. People have been caught making AI-generated art by having the AI learn and copy from preexisting artists to make their own art, which I think is incredibly lazy [and] also theft,” they stated.

However, the responses from Chabot students about image creators were mixed in comparison to their thoughts on plagiarism. Other students feel like generative AI can be beneficial and harmful depending on the intent of the user. “I feel like it’s a double-edged sword. It can help us in many creative ways, yet it can hurt us by not using our minds and cheating.”

Another even admits their admiration for AI image generators, “I think sites like ChatGPT are a bit of a cheat, mainly because I prefer to do my own writing, but I LOVE image generators.”

Due to the increasingly negative reputation of AI usage, many people have misconceptions that AI is just a technology that creates something based on prompts from the user. However, that is only true for generative AI. In reality, AI is in most of the technology people use every day. Many virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google are all examples of AI. Many of these virtual assistants were designed with machine learning capabilities. This means that over time, without having to be programmed to do so, they can self-improve and become more efficient. 

Another example of this is Grammarly. According to their own website, they use AI and natural language detection to improve their grammar detection software. According to a survey done by Grammarly, students felt more confident in their writing after using the program as opposed to before. 

Once again, mixed responses were gathered from Chabot students about their thoughts on AI usage outside of the classroom. Some students continued with the general reasoning of threats to integrity. 

“I think it’s wrong to replace hardworking artists or anyone else’s work with AI,” states one student. 

Another student responds, “AI can be useful and will eventually be in many sectors and industries. But I do hope that it is more of a tool than the norm.”

Others mention the potential harm AI could cause in the entertainment industry. “For those who are in entertainment … AI-generated actors are going to be used in TV/film, I believe it will contribute toward a lack of emotional connection to its audience.”

Another student shares a similar view, saying, “From the view of a film major, it scares me if the film industry doesn’t utilize it correctly. If they use it to replace writers to have AI write stories based on prompts, it’s not gonna work.”

I believe that this Chabot student says it best that, “AI usage is inevitable. It may not be for everyone, but technology changes, and it adapts.”

Artificial intelligence usage continues to pose many concerns and benefits in and outside of the classroom. However, it is a technology that will continue to evolve and remain a big part of everyday technology. While artificial intelligence was created with great intention, time will tell what its true impact will be.

Laptops in use by office workers with a computer brain icon in the background symbolzing AI usage.
AI generated image that used this article as the prompt, by Bing Image Creator

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