Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence changing the landscape of learning in Utah, US

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s finals week at universities across the country and for some students, this year’s papers and exams might be easier than ever because of the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT.

“It can be used for good reasons and learning things and borrowing the words it spits out,” said Hollis Rollins, Dean of Humanities at the University of Utah.

ChatGPT is artificial intelligence that works when a user types a prompt into a box; the more specific the prompt, the more specific the answer. Once the enter button is hit, ChatGPT can write an entire paper, solve an equation with explanation, or even write the outline for a legal cease-and-desist letter.

“We’re all concerned, or interested in more than concerned, that we’re not going to be able to tell over time who uses ChatGPT and who doesn’t,” Rollins said.

Rollins believes that artificial intelligence like ChatGPT is changing how universities define cheating.

“If they take some ideas and turn it into something that is partly their own, it’s going to be hard for us to figure out what percentage was written or suggested by ChatCPT is going to be too much,” he said.

Artificial intelligence is also forcing universities and professors to rethink how they view learning.

“Submitting a paper has always been a proxy for learning but there’s not a one-to-one correspondence between the thing that you turned in and whether or not you absorbed or learned it,” Rollins said. “What ChatGPT is doing is asking faculty to rethink this question of what actually is your learning how can we gauge what you learned.”

As students finish finals and head out for summer vacation, academia has a big question to address.

“What does it mean to teach writing in the era of ChatGPT? Are we going to be required to teach courses to students who perhaps will get their best writing from a machine?” Rollins asked. “I still think writing is important, that the process of writing changes you, you are a different person, you write a good piece of something.

“I still am in favor of teaching writing, but I think we have to ask ourselves some really hard questions.”

Copyright 2023 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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