AI will stunt authentic intellectual growth, prof argues
'The AI battle in academia has been steadily flourishing over the past few semesters, with a handful of students’ essays appearing to be composed with mechanical phrasing ... and universal opinions,' he writes.
He reminds us that its unchecked integration into academic life carries risks – advancing leftist political agendas and stunting authentic intellectual growth are just a few.
In an August 23 article titled “AI cheating is hopelessly, irreparably corrupting US higher education,” published in The Hill, Florida SouthWestern State College English professor Mark Massaro raises alarms about the encroaching influence of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, arguing that it is eroding the authentic development of critical thinking skills.
“The AI battle in academia has been steadily flourishing over the past few semesters, with a handful of students’ essays appearing to be composed with mechanical phrasing, missing specifics, questionable sources and universal opinions,” he writes. “But student resourcefulness, just like the technology, is evolving. The content is there on the page, but there is no underlying substance.”
Much more, students are adapting, learning to mask their use of AI.
“One colleague said that students are now taking their AI-written essays and running them through a “rephrasing” generator, which rewords the uploaded essays with synonyms to mask the original computerized nature of the product.”
Moreover, Massaro raises a cautionary point about the potential for AI tools to amplify personal and political biases. He does not identify that anti-conservative bias has been predominantly observed, but nevertheless has been.
Several researchers have uncovered indications of a left-leaning bias in AI bots like ChatGPT.
A study conducted in Europe, for example, found that ChatGPT tended to favor left-wing policies and would likely support left-leaning political parties. Similar tests by The Brookings Institution revealed a general left-leaning political bias in ChatGPT’s responses.
Instances of ChatGPT refusing to generate content with a positive tone about conservative figures, such as Donald Trump, have been reported, while producing content about liberal figures like Joe Biden.
However, Massaro’s warnings are going ignored.
Several universities are offering courses featuring ChatGPT as part of their curriculum.
Tufts University introduced an experimental course titled “Who Wrote This? ChatGPT, LLMS, and the Future of Learning,” and Arizona State University provides a course on “Basic Prompt Engineering with ChatGPT: Introduction.” Vanderbilt and Notre Dame University are also among the institutions planning to integrate ChatGPT into their courses.
While AI offers promises of efficiency and innovation, Massaro reminds us that its unchecked integration into academic life carries risks – advancing leftist political agendas and stunting authentic intellectual growth are just a few.
At worst, AI could worsen the nation’s dropping intelligence quotient (IQ) – a subject matter that has been well documented.
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