Are AI chatbots helping students cheat? Experts weigh in

NOW: Are AI chatbots helping students cheat? Experts weigh in


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Experts say huge leaps and bounds have been made in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). 

AI programs can now paint and write, and you may never notice the difference.

Milwaukee School of Engineering Associate Professor of Philosophy Andrew McAninch says, information generated by the latest "ChatGPT" chat bot is nearly impossible to tell apart from a student's writing.

"For all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from a solid 'B,'" said McAninch.

He says while he's aware of one rumored case of a student getting caught generating a paper with AI, he hasn't seen any of his students do it yet, but as the technology develops that could change.

"I kind of hope they're not watching this report, right?" McAninch said. "Because I don't want to give them any ideas."

How does it work?

AI systems use a combination of machine learning algorithms and data to make intelligent decisions and predictions.

Machine learning involves training a model on a large dataset, which allows the model to make decisions and predictions based on patterns it recognizes in the data.

If you're thinking to yourself that you could tell if something is AI generated, you may not have realized the last two sentences were generated with the simple prompt, "How AI works."

"You can type in, 'What is AI?' And it gives you a paragraph. It can write songs, it can write poems," said UW-Milwaukee Senior Lecturer Matthew Friedel.

Friedel teaches AI implementation.

He says the good news for teachers is while "ChatGPT" is easy to use and free, it only generates small amounts of text right now, not entire papers or other projects, and tools could help teachers identify AI text in the future.

McAninch says for now, he's just hoping students realize the point of writing a paper is thinking for yourself.

"What it is to think and what might be lost if we displace that with this technology, fascinating as it is," said McAninch.

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