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Artificial Intelligence in Education: A Holistic Evaluation

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AI has grown from a concept to a full-blown field, proving to develop the most in computer science. AI learning is the ability to solve more and more complex scenarios. Recently, we have seen Generative AI like Chat-GPT come into question in education. Students are using AI for good and bad uses, which has brought concern to educators on how they can effectively manage AI in education. This brief evaluates the relatively new role of AI in education and what policies can address questions and concerns in education.


AI has grown from a concept to a full-blown field, proving to develop the most in computer science. AI learning is the ability to solve more and more complex scenarios. Recently, we have seen Generative AI like Chat-GPT come into question in education. Students are using AI for good and bad uses, which has brought concern to educators on how they can effectively manage AI in education. This brief evaluates the relatively new role of AI in education and what policies can address questions and concerns in education.

Policy Questions

History of AI

The field of AI was created when Alan Turing postured the Imitation Game, which would be a test of machine intelligence. In the Imitation Game, it attempted to see if a machine could determine who was a woman when a man was imitating a woman and an average woman. The Imitation Game pondered the ability of a computer to create its intelligence by learning the natural world and a situation within the real world. The field furthered when 1952, Arthur Samuel made a Checkers bot that could learn how to play the game of Checkers independently using learned knowledge. This bot demonstrated some of the first steps in creating artificial intelligence, which would be able to understand its concepts and fun as they are very good at simulating situations through which you have to learn the correct moves instead of complex problems, such as those in the real world where there could be another variable as play. Lastly, in 1955, John McCarthy held a workshop in Dartmouth where he used the term artificial intelligence, pushing and indicating the field we are currently seeing.

More recently, we have seen AI pushing the boundaries due to many agencies' increased spending and attention to AI. Some examples of this are, increased focus on autonomous weapons and the creation of such by many governments in the oral, as can be seen by drones with autonomous capabilities being deployed militarily, such as in the war between Russia and Ukraine. Additionally, many of these test runs have proven the ability of AI to be implemented into these complex scenarios that most humans cannot master. Due to this increase in funding by many organizations, from companies to some of the most significant powers in the world, AI has made strides, and the field as a whole has grown.

One such application is AI within autonomous vehicles; this has been one of the fastest-growing fields in the past few years. The application of autonomous vehicles can be seen in Tesla's growth, a primarily autonomous vehicle driving company. Tesla vehicles can achieve autonomous driving capabilities where humans are not necessary to operate the car. Tesla's self-driving feats show the ability of humans to develop AI that is learning more and more complex scenarios, such as what to do when faced with potentially being hit by a car, and has led to the further development of AI and a massive increase in the popularity of AI. Additionally, more recently, we have seen the application of AI to Natural Language Processing, where it can understand how we learn and understand words. A prime example is the creation of Chat GPT, which can respond to human questions and understand the general world as a result of its access to the internet. Overall, this shows how the increase in Natural language processing (NLP) has boosted AI, as chat GPT has become a tool that most people use now.

Role of AI in the Classroom

In the current American educational climate, educators and families are concerned with students’ utilization of AI to engage in academic dishonesty. It is becoming increasingly common for students to copy an assignment into an AI chatbot (such as ChatGPT) and receive an immediate response. While ChatGPT is an incredibly dynamic tool that can be used to complete tasks across various fields and frameworks, students most commonly use it to write essays. The sentences generated by programs like ChatGPT or Shortly-AI are surprisingly strong, with a somewhat natural flow and clear prose style. And because the sentences produced by GPT-3 are entirely original, the output text would not be flagged by a plagiarism detector such as Turnitin. Outside of writing essays, ChatGPT can write and edit code, solve complex math equations, and generate illustrations. Its numerous applications within an academic context cannot be underscored enough, as that is its main appeal to students. 

However, some students utilize AI programs such as ChatGPT to receive immediate, personalized feedback on work that can aid the process of completing assignments. One can enter pieces of text and ask the AI chatbot to summarize, paraphrase, translate, fix spelling mistakes, provide constructive feedback, and more. When used honestly, AI is a powerful tool that can expand efficiency in learning and support students on a path to success. 

Many educators have sought to alleviate this impending crisis by rushing to incorporate AI into assignments, lesson plans, and student assessments. ChatGPT can write personalized lesson plans for each student (beneficial for students with ​​Individualized Education Programs (IEP) and 504 accommodations), generate ideas for classroom activities, and serve as an after-school tutor. It can also be a helpful tool for English language learners to improve their basic writing skills, providing multisensory engagement and a low-risk environment to learn English through music, videos, poems, and more. Even ChatGPT’s flaws, such as its occasional production of straight-up falsehoods, can be used as a classroom exercise. Teachers can instruct students to try and “catch” ChatGPT or analyze its responses the way a teacher would evaluate a student’s. While school districts nationwide have begun to ban AI in the classroom, many scholars recommend teaching with it to combat academic dishonesty and plagiarism.

Policy Stances of AI in the Classroom

Though the incredible speed of AI developments within academia is sure to be impressive, its power has also demanded calls for regulations in promoting educational honesty. For example, a recent survey showed that 51% of students consider using AI tools such as ChatGPT to complete assignments and exams a form of cheating. According to a recent EdWeek Research survey, half of the educators who responded claimed: "AI would have a negative or very negative impact on teaching and learning in the next five years." The cons outline many of the irregularities and errors within AI technology. Since AI is made from articles and chunks of the internet, biases and preferences are bound to appear - though far from ideal. Specifically, with the popularity of ChatGPT rising, many professors fear the use of algorithmic technology in essays and homework. However, many have been able to catch AI involvement in school work plagiarism detectors. Recent solutions, such as the invention of GPTZero created last winter, aim to detect ChatGPT usage or determine if it was authentically written. Other nerves have been mitigated with the constant adaptation of technology that involves plagiarism checkers in their applications, including recent updates to Google Classroom and TurnItIn. 

Other institutions, like Cambridge University and Imperial College of London, have warned against ChatGPT usage, while others have done so through internet firewalls that block access on school grounds or have included a ban on AI usage in their academic integrity policies. Many feel that using AI tools in education reduces skill development while raising ethical concerns not yet defined. 

AI tools can be helpful to teachers - though raising eyebrows about safety concerns. With remote learning and assessments, AI technology was made available to monitor student activity through their video-tracking facial expressions, backgrounds, and movement. These "pervasive" activities aim to formulate student profiles in cheating - yet also heighten student anxiety when their academic fate is left up to newly developed tools.

Some educators have felt the inevitability of resisting AI and have welcomed it into classroom discussions. AI's responsive abilities and feedback have served use within educational planning or learning direction. However, the sheer power and massive unclarity have led to growing questions. 

Policy Options

Much of AI and education discourse revolves around guardrails against plagiarism, intellectual property protection, data safety, equal access, and appropriate utilization. 

1. Data Safety and Privatization Concerns

The primary concern of lawmakers concerning generative AI is the data storing and privacy aspects. A recent bill introduced by Sen. Finegold (D) of Massachusetts addresses the crux of these issues. The bill includes language that explicitly requires companies like OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, to obtain "explicit" and "informed consent" from users before collecting data, as well as "deleting" or "de-identifying" information from individuals that is no longer needed. Additionally, companies that operate large-scale, generative AI would be required to register with the State Attorney General's office within 90 days of the bill's implementation. Bills like this are expected to be introduced in more state legislatures. 

The nature of Facebook and the path of its development have heavily influenced how lawmakers are approaching generative AI as well. Many cite Facebook as a cautionary tale and an example of what happens if guardrails are not solidified in due time. Others consider Facebook a prime example of innovation and the myriad benefits of encouraging technological innovation. As ChatGPT and other generative AI models continue to grow, policymakers must also expand their understanding of fair and reasonable regulations. 

2. Cheating and Plagarism

Although generative AI like ChatGPT can spur innovation and facilitate learning, concerns about cheating hinder the full utilization of AI in education. Schools nationwide have implemented bans on ChatGPT and restricted student access during and for school purposes. Los Angeles and New York City schools have implemented a city-wide school ban on ChatGPT, citing concerns about "negative impacts on student learning." Students can request the use of generative AI for specific purposes, although they are strongly encouraged to avoid doing so. OpenAI, however, has committed to "developing mitigations to help anyone identify text generated by that system." 

3. Intellectual Property

Another fundamental point of contention is protecting intellectual property and the potential ramifications of using generative AI. As companies increasingly digitize their assets and shift to an online workspace, questions have s with the use of generative technology and sensitive information. Copyright law dictates that what is entirely human-created is copyrightable. However, the information generated by an AI is subject to different protections and regulations, which may become a more significant issue in academic spaces, especially as students become increasingly involved with generative technology. 


The consensus among policymakers, academics, and professionals is that while generative AI is still in its vestigial stages, its rapid development warrants careful observation.

Share or Cite this Brief

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“What Riding in a Self-Driving Tesla Tells Us About the Future of Autonomy.” Accessed July 5, 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/11/14/technology/tesla-self-driving-flaws.html

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