OPINION: Artificial intelligence is tearing down the education system

ChatGPT has found its way into classrooms. The impact is detrimental.


A student uses ChatGPT to complete a writing assignment.

From passing along answer keys, to hiding notecards in inconspicuous places and to covertly copying answers from a classmate – schools aren’t unfamiliar with the classic methods of classroom cheating.

But as we start entering an era focused heavily on accelerating the advancement of technology, these tricks are quickly becoming replaced with more complex, digital versions of themselves, where a simple click of a button can snatch you an “A,” and where academic integrity is growing even more impossible to promise.

Whether or not you’ve done it yourself, cheating on an assignment is something that happens more often than you’d think. Because of newly introduced technology, such as one-on-one devices or just simply your phone, cheating has grown to be fairly easy to accomplish. You can screenshot answer keys or complete a quiz with another window open to google answers.

Now, the rise of artificial intelligence is contributing heavily to that bunch. And a common, well-loved component is ChatGPT.

Through ChatGPT, users are able to generate incredibly well-written pieces of text. This unit of technology surfs the web for information and instantly constructs an accurate piece of text in seconds. They’re sophisticated, and packed with vocabulary that’s more than sufficient for a high school writing assignment.

“It’s really easy to do,” said an RHS student who chose to remain anonymous for this topic. “You can ask it (ChatGPT) to do whatever, like write essays. It can just give you any answer you need really fast, you don’t have to waste time looking things up.”

The appeal of wanting to use it is understandable – it’s simple, convenient, and saves time. So, what’s the harm in doing so?

Constantly, honesty is preached in the academic world. Academic integrity is a vow that all students are expected to make. And while we’re used to hearing “cheating is bad, don’t plagiarize” so frequently that it’s meaning has been reduced, schools and colleges still take the issue very seriously.

Jamie Smith, a Rogers teacher, said: “If you do it in college, you can be kicked out, and other colleges won’t let you in. If you do it in a job, you get fired. You can get sued.”

Artificial intelligence is still being introduced. In the meantime, it has its faults. AI-generated pieces of text all contain one very specific phraseology that is easy to catch by one who has encountered other AI-generated pieces. Its style is too distinctive, and each piece of artificial writing is not much different than the next.

“A lot of times, I got the exact same essay no matter how I rephrased the question, or the prompt,” said another RHS student who chose to remain anonymous for this topic. “There’s so much you can get out of it, really.”

This doesn’t sound too bad on the surface. But when your teacher is grading through a hundred essays, they’re bound to notice two or more submissions with the exact same expression, style, and articulation in their writing.

“Honestly, a lot of the terminology and vocabulary is a lot higher than what our students use day-to-day,” Smith said. “And it’s like, ‘yeah, that’s not yours.'”

Jeffery Nusser, another Rogers teacher who has encountered numerous AI-generated assignments turned in to him, had similar thoughts.

“When I read it, that’s when it’s usually pretty easy to tell — by this point of the year, especially, I’m pretty familiar with everyone’s writing. And AI writing has a very distinct writing style,” Nusser said. “The way it puts sentences together, the syntax, the complexity of sentences – these things that we work with you guys on in your writing, AI has these things, too.”

Apart from using artificial intelligence to generate essays, students are also commonly found using AI bots to look up short answers. It’s just like a pocket textbook – minus the minutes spent flipping through pages for an answer.

Right now, using a bot to complete a short assignment seems harmless. But beyond all misconceptions, the convenience that AI has provided in education threatens the worth of learning.

“There can be good things about using it,” Smith said. “It can give you ideas, it can give you inspiration. But when you use it instead of learning, it hurts you in the short run and in the long run.”

Students will begin to depend solely on artificial intelligence, wiping away their potential to truly grow and replacing it with a scaled-down reflection of their efforts. Along with that, authentic work by a student becomes devalued when they receive the same grade as a student whose work was artificially produced.

What does this mean for the future?

Smith said: “I fear that it’s going to make people a lot less creative. When you don’t have to think and create new ideas, and AI does it for you, then we won’t be able to progress as fast forward, because we won’t be the ones coming up with any new ideas.”

Artificial intelligence doesn’t only come in literacy or academic form. Society is beginning to see artificial intelligence break out through forms of art, music, and even through human impersonation. Through shattering the foundation of trust and casting shadows of doubt, artificial intelligence is paving the way for a future of deceit.