I have been considering this for a while and finally felt compelled to blog about it. For those of you who are wondering. AI is artificial intelligence and the most commonly used tool for AI is ChatGPT. It is an artificial intelligence program designed to simulate human-like conversation. ChatGPT use has exploded since being released in 2022. I have bumped up against it in multiple life situations. Funny that I say “bumped up against it”, I guess that tells you a bit of how I feel. Some of these situations really conflict with my value system and others spark my curiosity and passion for innovation and transformation. These tools are dramatically changing our world in positive and sometimes concerning ways.
First of all I am an assistant professor at a private Christian college and I have growing concern about students using it to write their essays or answer online exams. This is plagiarism and a code of conduct violation. Many of the current tools used to detect plagiarism don’t detect AI yet. Tools are being developed to detect AI use however, they aren’t completely reliable.
In fact one of the warning signs of AI use is when a research paper submission where references are required is submitted and a student gets a similarity score of 0% from our current plagiarism tool (turnitin, or other…). Similarity scores are based on looking in published work for the same wording. Universities expect low similarity scores, ideally below 10%. If students are using references in their work there will be some similarities, but it is highly unlikely that a similarity score will be 0%. While we don’t want similarity scores to be over 10%, a 0% is a red flag but not always a sure way to detect AI use. Colleges are working furiously to add this detection to their tools but it isn’t 100% reliable yet. There is also an increase of information on the internet to teach students how to change papers so AI use isn’t detected. My question is wouldn’t it be easier to actually do the research and write the paper then figure out how to game the system to not detect your AI use? Why lose the opportunity to gain the education?
But grading isn’t the only place I have questions. AI has also bumped up against me in my coaching business. I am constantly seeing ads promoting the use of AI to create marketing content, blog posts and create courses. This is a double edged sword. On one hand ChatGPT or Jasper can be used in extremely valuable and authentic ways, and on the other hand it can be used to present a completely false persona to potential clients. This is concerning because the coaching profession already has challenges regarding credibility, since it isn’t a licensed profession and the market for certification programs is prolific. Literally anyone can claim to be a coach, regardless of their expertise, or ability to successfully coach and help others. Trust and positive outcomes are imperative in a successful coaching relationship with a client. Can this be developed when coaches are presenting themselves as experienced and learned individuals but are really ChatGPT experts?I want to support my clients with knowledge and tools I have learned, used and applied on myself and others with great success. I have personally invested a great deal in education and self development in order to build a broad spectrum of tools and abilities, that I know work, to support my clients in achieving their goals. While I love using tools like ChatGPT to support me, you won’t find me using it to build content for my blog or creating a course.
Here are a few more important things to consider as AI use grows exponentially. First, AI is a tool of the world. It is built by human beings, it has errors and it has bias. It doesn’t have feelings, a spirit, or any type of Divine inspiration. For me, as a faith based coach, it highlights the importance of developing our individual capacity for personal revelation and the need to adhere to our church leaders’ plea to Hear Him. In President Nelson’s April 2020 general conference talk, Hear Him, he says “Our Father knows that when we are surrounded by uncertainty and fear, what will help us the very most is to hear His Son. Because when we seek to hear–truly hear–His Son, we will be guided to know what to do in any circumstance.” He also says “We simply cannot rely upon information we bump into on social media. With billions of words online and in a marketing-saturated world constantly infiltrated by noisy, nefarious efforts of the adversary,…It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now.”
Second, AI tools like ChatGPT respond to prompts we provide. The quality of the prompt dictates how accurate and applicable the response will be to your audience. As you begin using ChatGPT it is critical to keep this in mind and use your own critical thinking skills to interpret the information. This requires a solid understanding of language awareness. We use our language awareness ability today as we read information from social media or the internet and discern whether its true or if it is an attempt to manipulate our thinking. These skills will become increasingly more important.
Finally, AI tools will be transformational and will change our future. While we can at times already get overwhelmed by the information we have at our fingertips and how to determine what is real, there is the potential for this to become exponentially an even greater challenge. Many professions of today will become obsolete, so it is essential to become aware of the technology and certainly as a parent provide guidance and direction to your children on its use and pitfalls.
I am excited to watch how this technology impacts our world and provides all kinds of opportunities for innovation. At the same time, I am thankful for a faith-based perspective and a strong desire to develop a closer relationship with Him and strengthen my capacity for personal revelation to help navigate the way.
Below are some links if you would like to learn more about AI and its use.
AI Godfather Geoffrey Hinton Quits
AI use and the future of teaching and learning
A Chance to Sharpen Our Critical Skills
Wharton professor who gave ChatGPT an MBA-level exam says AI will be an ‘amazing tool’ for education
43 examples of AI in education
The Role of AI in Managing Work Teams