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The worrying aspects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (TLA). It can automate the mundane and reduce the administrative burdens of both teaching and supporting staff. It can tailor-make learning paths that are suitable for our students’ particular needs. AI has been promised to create a world full of amazing possibilities and augment the capabilities of the teacher, yet just like nearly everything in life, there are of course advantages and disadvantages.

I’ve just come across a website called Talk to Transformer. The website uses AI and neural networks to produce text, stories, and poems. If you insert a few words into the textbox, the neural network will guess what comes next. Playing about with this has produced, in some cases, very coherent and intelligible text. As impressive as this is, and truly I am impressed with the technology, I’m also very concerned and worried about the serious implications this could have for educators grappling with plagiarism in education.

As an educator in Further Education (FE) for over 18 years and a big advocate of edtech, I’ve seen how technology has developed over the years and how our students are using their ‘creativity’ when producing work. There are tools online such as text spinners, and others that our students have utilised to produce work. Those tools are unintelligent and you could easily detect that this work was produced by something (not our students) that is unintelligent. An amusing strategy I use when I detect a text spinner tool has been deployed is I threaten them with a diagnostics assessment, to check for any learning difficulties, and find that they readily admit and confess their sins.

As the rapid development of AI and other associated technologies race ahead, we will be facing serious challenges in education. It will come to a point where we cannot differentiate between original work produced by a human and work produced by these neural learning and artificial intelligence technologies.

These are serious questions that need a lot of thinking about, and of course, we cannot stop this technology, and nor should we attempt to! But……..

What are your thoughts on this?

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