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CAMPUS: AI offers challenges, responsibilities for students 

CAMPUS: AI offers challenges, responsibilities for students 

By Regina Verduzco
Bridge contributing writer
Published Thursday, March 21, 2024

Some students find the temptation to use artificial intelligence on their assignments, but many TAMIU professors indicate this requires responsibility.

Assistant Professor of communication Arthur D. Soto-Vásquez holds an academic interest in the development of AI and how it affects scholars. AI usage continues to increase on college campuses, both by students and faculty. Understanding the difference between various AI usages is part of the equation.

Assistant Professor Arthur Soto-Vasquez
Assistant Professor Arthur D. Soto-Vásquez

Soto-Vásquez said he prefers Texas A&M International University students “learn the old way” before taking on the assistance of AI software.

On the other hand, alumnus Alejandro Garcia said, “I think AI should be nowhere near college; students must do the work themselves.”

While advances often make life easier, Garcia believes students still need old-fashioned pen-and-paper to properly grasp subjects in most cases. Soto-Vásquez said people need a strong educational foundation in order to catch possible flaws in AI-generated content. One of the disadvantages of AI is its ability to hallucinate information, which is when some AI programs, including Chat GPT, simply guess or make up information that has no foundation in fact.

“I am planning on using AI next semester when I start college,” local high school student Regina Ordones said. “I love that you could enter a topic and it gives you a million ideas.”

Kinza Yasar of WhatIs recently published an article on AI’s negative effects on humanity. These effects include, but are not limited to: concerns of poor ethics, social manipulation and job displacement.

With AI still in its infancy, many programs need outside help to achieve a believable product. If the person behind the AI does not have strong foundations, AI can be more of a deterrent than a useful tool, Soto-Vásquez said.

The legality of generative AI remains murky in terms of copyright violations. Schools and universities work toward finding a good balance for the technology. On one hand, school officials seek to protect the integrity of learning; on the other, they need to keep up with social and technological changes.

This dilemma can be problematic. Currently at TAMIU, AI technology decisions are left to the discretion of faculty, as necessary for each course.

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Engagement looks at Academic Integrity, ironically also nicknamed AI, as a set of shared values, principles, behaviors and skills. This also applies to TAMIU’s Honor Code.

According to the University Course Policies, attached to each syllabus, under the cheating violation of the Honor Code, identifies “… using generative artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT. Unless allowed by each professor, students are expected to complete each assignment without assistance from others, including automated writing tools.”

Beyond the classroom, Soto-Vásquez said that because AI is fairly new, there is not much government oversight. This means companies can gain millions in revenue from generative AI to cater marketing to individuals with zero concern for privacy. A few AI rules were established by the largest players in the AI field.

The only true AI oversight companies have is self-regulation. In many cases, these companies use public information for their own gain and profit, based on regular people sharing personal knowledge online.

“[The] genie cannot go back in the bottle,” Soto-Vásquez said.

AI will change and possibly improve with the times. Currently, ChatGPT has a free version powered by GPT-3.5 and a ChatGPT Plus online subscription for $20 per month that upgrades users to GPT-4. For example, GPT-4 can analyze text, images and voice.

According to the Zdnet.com website article about GPT-4, “[It] can ‘view’ an image of your refrigerator contents and provide you with recipes using the ingredients it sees. ChatGPT Plus users can also upload documents for GPT-4 to analyze and make inferences or summaries. However, GPT-4 will only answer you with text–unless you ask it to generate an image for you.”

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