Shift to AI technology poses threat to education and employment

Shift to AI technology poses threat to education and employment

Photo credit: Sasha Poradun

By Editorial Board

As a society, we regularly encounter artificial intelligence applications that make our lives simpler, such as self-driving cars, navigational systems, and autocorrect. However, with advances in AI technology, questions have come up regarding the ethics of AI and if the convenience outweighs the loss of human work.

Disputes emerged following Sports Illustrated’s decision to lay off 17 journalists and replace their work with AI-generated articles. These AI-generated articles have already been released such as “Proven Tips to Help You Run Your Fastest Mile Yet.” The content of the article was derived from material found in 17 years worth of archived stories from Men’s Fitness. Likewise, digital media company Buzzfeed has used AI to create quizzes and content for its viewers, which can be made at a lower cost than human labor. This method’s drawback is that AI gathers data by scanning the web for existing material, therefore there is a risk of inaccurate and unverified information present in the article. 

Additionally, emotional intelligence, a crucial component of human communication, is absent from AI writing. AI is unable to grasp the emotional depth of a text or effectively express human feelings. It seems that the efficiency and quantity of news produced is viewed as more important than a curated article cherry-picked by the human brain. While the quick production of articles may look appealing, jobs will be put at risk by the growing capabilities of AI technology.  As media companies begin to take advantage of this tactic, it becomes more apparent that journalism is just the tip of the AI iceberg.

The popularity of AI is growing among students in addition to its influence in the workplace. Rather than sitting down and writing an assignment on their own, some students would rather save time and have an essay created for them in a matter of minutes, paying the price of only a few clicks. According to USA Today, research shows that 30% of students utilize AI writing services such as the application ChatGPT, an online tool taught to interpret and answer text-based requests in virtually any style by analyzing millions of sources from the internet. It is not the physical websites like ChatGPT that pose a risk; rather, it is how those websites are used. Reliance on these websites poses a threat to students’ learning and will lead to a decline in human communication and writing skills. Because students have access to these tools that write for them, they will not be capable of developing their own ideas. Rather, their learning will stem from AI which lacks the organic thoughts that humans can produce. Students will start to rely on similar aids for other assignments, leaving no room for growth or learning. 

Although AI can create content quickly and efficiently, it lacks the originality and creativity that comes with being written by a human. Given that AI algorithms produce content based on pre-existing data, they are unable to come up with nuanced and imaginative ideas. It is essentially impossible to imitate the complexities humans can conduct within a text since AI uses redundant and dispensable information. We should be cautious about the future of AI and avoid being deceived by its speed and low cost, at the expense of our ability to cognitively develop and uphold our responsibilities within the school and the workplace.