Artificial intelligence (AI) has rapidly emerged as a transformative force across various industries and is poised to revolutionize the higher education system. With advancements in technology, AI has the potential to enhance teaching and learning experiences, offering personalized education tailored to individual needs. Intelligent virtual assistants, adaptive learning algorithms, and automated grading systems are just a few examples of how AI can revolutionize the way knowledge is acquired, assessed, and delivered. Furthermore, AI-powered tools can help institutions gather insights, analyze data, and provide valuable recommendations to enhance student success and drive institutional growth. Embracing AI in higher education is imperative to meet the changing demands of the digital era and to prepare students for future challenges.
The paragraph you just read, was written by an AI word generator called Simplified. The generator was prompted with this statement, “Write a 100-word introduction about AI and the importance it will have in the higher education system.” It gathered its own research, formulated a logical argument, while following the basic rules of a persuasive introduction, and in a matter of seconds produced the paragraph above. Quite frankly, it makes a valid point, AI could revolutionize higher education as we move deeper into this era of 0s an 1s. The real question is are we compromising our standards by allowing AI to take these small time-consuming tasks in the name of efficiency? Is AI even ethical? These are important questions we must ask ourselves as people committed to learning. And once we find an answer, are we willing to stand by it, despite the possible inconvenience?
Generative AI started as a translation-based technology, but soon grew into text-to-image based technology. Essentially, the AI works much like the human brain, using neural networks to make connections. The Algorithms used give the AI the power to analyze and pick out patterns in speech, words, and art, to create similar content based on the algorithms and information its’s been fed. Generative AI right now is completely human based, with a person at the beginning and end of the process, feeding the AI prompts, then analyzing the results, and tweaking the prompts or art based on preference. It’s capabilities grow each day as prompts and human speech are analyzed further, picking up on more patterns and becoming more and more like natural human speech.
This technology has the potential to grow into something incredible and efficient. In the world of business and advertising AI has the potential to create content and media that far surpasses that of a human creator, simply for the speed, pattern detecting, and generally useable content. Being able to prompt the AI is the key to great content and is an easily learnable skill. This could save people a lot of time and effort, while still accomplishing the task, a lot of times, at a higher level than a person could complete it.
This brings me to higher education. How can AI help professors, faculty, and students? The growing generative AI has an exceptional ability to detect patterns based on statistics and specific datasets. It has the potential to aid students by developing individual learning plans. And can take tedious grading and reviewing from professors. These are just a few of the small ways AI could help those in higher education.
Professor Kevin Bennington, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, sees the potential in AI and how it can help professors and artists in the future.
When asked about the dangers of AI and how it could affect the education system, Professor Bennington said that:
He went on to pose the question that if a student used AI to write a term paper, “did they learn anything to help them further their career?” He stressed the idea that this will always be a problem with new technology, and there will always be someone who wants to “take a shortcut.” But Bennington ended with this thought:
We are entering a new age of education. AI is affecting us whether we like it or not. It has enormous potential to help and grow many industries. Understanding the process of generative AI will be key to the ethical and effective use. Without rules and regulations, as AI continues to grow, it has the potential to harm those who wish for “short cuts” within the higher education system. Time will tell, and with it the systems will continue to change a shift. AI is here to stay and it’s up to us to learn how to live with it.
by Kinsley Mankin