Many school and college students struggle to write essays. Finishing writing assignments means toiling away for long hours. Enter ChatGPT — social media’s latest AI sensation. This Generative AI tool’s ability to self-produce content and write stories and essays with just prompts without any human intervention has stunned many. As a causal effect, there is also a widespread worry that students might begin using (read: misusing) these tools to outsource all their assignments to AI. Concerned educators are left scratching their heads as to what this tech advancement could do to students’ learning in the long run.
While the knee-jerk reaction might be to ban it altogether, Kashyap Kompella, CEO, global technology industry analyst firm RPA2AI, advises against it. Educational institutions will have to figure out a way to integrate these advanced AI tools into learning without banning them, he says. “While it is still in its very early days, it is important for educational institutions to understand its strengths and limitations, what one can and cannot do, and most importantly, should not do. Understanding AI ethics is a must,” adds Kompella.
A simple non-tech way to do it is to give in-class assessments. Another way to subvert it is if assignments truly got creative and required students to demonstrate critical thinking abilities, instead of merely testing their capacity to research and organise learning material, says Kompella.
On the other side, AI tools like ChatGPT could also put in place some responsible measures to help educational institutions, according to Santanu Paul, CEO and MD, TalentSprint. “Maybe ChatGPT can bring out an imprint — something like a digital watermark. And bring in a provision to perhaps let an examiner submit writing material and check if it’s written by a human or generated by AI,”
When it comes to AI, the focus so far has only been on classifying and forecasting, says Paul. Classification can be used to dissect images and text, and audio recognition. Forecasting involves feeding an AI with massive amounts of data and letting it analyse and show us its predictions. Now enter Generative AI – which produces content by itself. “This has been in the making for a long time. ChatGPT is the tipping point. Now everyone has woken up and said, ‘my God, now it’s gone too far!” adds Paul.
But before we start worrying about the dramatic and far-reaching impact this could have on the Indian education system, it is important to remember that only a quarter of high school students go to English medium schools in India, points out Kompella. “AI research is only active in 10 to 15 of the world’s languages. It is, for the most part, in the English language. We need to keep this context in mind,” he adds.
Moreover, the greatness of Generative AI can also be misleading as the technology is still in its nascent stages. “It’s not that good. I still had to do a lot of editing,” quips a student-user of ChatGPT.