You and AI: A look at artificial intelligence in education

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AI is already in classrooms, but many wonder to what extent?

Northwestern University graduate student Rom Brown welcomes the technology's presence.

"I think it's very beneficial," Brown told NBC Chicago.

Others believe it gets rid of the cold start problem when writing a paper.

Matt Sullivan, an economics major, said that he doesn't use the technology too frequently, adding that he enlists the help of AI around once a week.

Could it replace teachers?

Kris Hammond is a celebrated professor of computer science at Northwestern University who believes we’re moving in that direction.

He runs the Center for Advancing Safety of Machine Intelligence where they’ve learned that clean, clear and coherent writing is not always right.    

"It can write things that sound just like what we wrote, but one problem: it doesn’t know what’s true, just what’s most likely."

A March survey published by of 1,000 college students nationwide found that 43% of college students use an Artificial Intelligence application like ChatGPT: a language model built for conversation.

Of those, half say they have used AI tools on assignments or exams.

Rom Brown adds that he thinks "it really enriches the way that we learn when it is used the right way."

Professor Hammond says students across the country are using it all the time.

"I teach students who program. They’re ALL using it," Hammond said.

Students told us they believe that if you ask the right questions, it can provide a nice baseline.

Hammond adds to that, explaining that students think with the technology, as opposed to having the AI think for them.

"A genuine partnership between human and machine. Where you write a little, it asks questions about what you’ve written, because it can do evaluation too," Hammond said.

"We don’t want the machine to replace those baseline skills. And so it is the challenge: how do you teach writing to people who have a writer sitting next to them?"

Hammond, very seriously, said it would be a blessing to be replaced by AI in the classroom. 

"Because I’m replaced by something as good as I am, and a thousand times more effective...that means I would scale, and that would be magnificent to me. It's not just that I’m being replaced but that I am being scaled across the world, I can think of nothing an educator would want more than that," Hammond said. found that 61% of students polled think AI tools will be normalized for people of all ages.

Is using AI cheating?

The BestColleges survey says just over half of those polled believe it is.

Shagun Lahodi is a graduate student who argues against it being labeled as cheating.

"I don’t think it’s cheating. Just giving you another perspective. If you copy, it’s cheating."

While many institutions are still debating whether AI should be allowed in the classroom or not, 63% of students in the BestColleges research agree that Al cannot replace human creativity or intelligence.

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