Education in Jeopardy? The Emergence of Open Source Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the technology that has revolutionized how machines work, think, and learn. It is now an essential part of our daily lives, from voice assistants like Siri and Alexa to recommendation systems used by popular websites like Amazon and Netflix. Open source AI, on the other hand, refers to AI software that is freely available for anyone to access, use, and modify. This technology has become increasingly popular in recent years, allowing developers to create new AI applications, collaborate with others, and contribute to improving existing systems. With open-source AI, the possibilities are endless, and the potential for innovation and creativity is enormous.

The paragraph above was written by ChatGPT, an open-source artificial intelligence chatbot initially released on November 30th, 2022. The prompt: “Write me an introduction paragraph about open-source artificial intelligence like a 10th grader.”

Across the globe, schools have undergone turmoil as they evaluate the potential, or severity, of open-source AI on education. Many allowed its use; others opted to blacklist it. This contrast can be seen between the New York City public schools, which opted for a 100% ban, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) system, which allows AI on papers as long as AI is cited as a source. Either way, its potency is undeniable. With only a sentence or two, paragraphs of words can magically appear out of thin air. For many students, this is a godsend.

“I think there’s no choice but to acknowledge that it [(AI)] exists and address it in some way. Pretending it’s not there, pretending that we’re not using it here, is definitely not the way forward,” commented Ms. Carmichael, Northwood’s Dean of Academic Affairs. “After all, I think one of the most important things we’re teaching students here is not how to write an essay about Romeo and Juliet: that is a tool that we are using to help them dig into themselves, their feelings, their thoughts, how they interact and make sense of the world, and create meaning.”

Ms. Carmichael then explained what that means for their duties as teachers: “We have to respond to the world that we are in, and if that’s our job, to help students navigate, make sense of, and express themselves in the world, we also have to help them navigate AI. I think we have a duty to help students make ethical and responsible choices and to help students truly understand the pros and cons,” she clarified. “You may use it; you may get away with it. What have you gotten out of that experience? I hope that our students will reflect on that level. I also don’t think it should just be a solely disciplinary issue because it’s a learning opportunity as well.”

It is noteworthy to mention that, in hindsight, this is not the first time the academic world has faced a breakthrough invention. Spin back a few decades, and the Internet was just created. Initially, many schools opposed the idea of the Internet since they believed it debilitated the idea of reading a proper book or searching for information using an encyclopedia. In the present day, the use of the Internet is integral to a modern-day school environment, whether for teaching, studying, or communicating. For instance, the readily available sources of information are a massive boost for students when it comes to information that cannot be found in a traditional library. Artificial intelligence shouldn’t be dismissed as the Internet was.

Predicting the future of technology is always a challenging task. Still, based on current trends and advancements in AI, it’s safe to say that we can expect to see AI integrated into almost every aspect of our lives in the next 30 years.

One of the most significant changes we can expect is the rise of autonomous systems and robotics. AI-powered robots are already being used in manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare, and we can expect to see this trend continue and expand into new areas like agriculture, construction, and even space exploration.

Another area where we can expect to see significant AI advancements is in healthcare. AI can help doctors and researchers to analyze large amounts of data to identify disease patterns, develop new treatments, and improve patient outcomes. In addition, AI-powered medical devices can help to monitor patients in real time, alerting doctors to potential problems before they become critical.

AI can also transform the way we interact with technology. With natural language processing and computer vision technologies, we can expect to see more intuitive and responsive interfaces, making it easier for people to communicate with machines.

However, there are also challenges associated with the widespread adoption of AI, including ethical and legal concerns, such as ensuring transparency and accountability, as well as data privacy and security issues. Overall, the development and implementation of AI will require careful consideration and collaboration between policymakers, technology companies, and the general public to ensure its benefits are maximized while minimizing its risks.

Did you catch it this time, reader? Starting at “Predicting the future…”, the segments describing AI’s role in the future were written by ChatGPT, which may have been a giveaway due to the out-of-place short bursts of paragraphs.

“We might be conducting classes in a very different way and doing assignments that look and feel very different, but five years from now, once we are accustomed to all this [AI], we will know how to use them in the larger world,” Ms. Carmichael expressed.

Ultimately, with artificial intelligence, education may face the dawn of a new age. However, it is still too early to grasp whether AI is malicious or beneficial in many aspects of human life. It is best to approach AI with an open mind and moral conscience for now.


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