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Artificial Intelligence – Here to Stay!?

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With the advent of ChatGPT & Co., artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into the realm of education, shaking its foundations. Will we still be able to encourage students to write their own texts? Will homework become obsolete? Will assignments and presentations, along with their visual elements, become unnecessary? And won't we be inundated with a flood of fakes?

Artificial intelligence has firmly established itself. It is here to stay and it's becoming increasingly apparent that imposing bans is an ineffective approach. Instead, we need to find responsible ways to harness the power of AI and encourage young people to discover its potential, understand its risks, and naturally shape the future with this transformative technology.

Futurisitic classroom

Examples of AI-generated image creations

This calls for a closer examination and assessment of how we can leverage artificial intelligence as a "learning companion" to foster personalized learning experiences and make subjects more accessible. However, it's equally important to deal with the risks associated with using AI in educational settings and develop strategies to address them effectively.

AI as a Learning Companion

What could possibly go wrong with utilizing artificial intelligence as a learning companion? Well, nothing really, except for the potential dissemination of misinformation. But we'll delve into that later. In educational processes, tailoring learning offerings to individual needs is key to promoting equal opportunities. AI-powered tools can facilitate the creation of personalized learning scenarios for students, dynamically adjusting learning goals through data analysis, and providing direct feedback through interactive dialogue.

The success of ChatGPT demonstrates the simplicity of this approach. By engaging in a dialogue, or what we commonly refer to as "prompting," an AI assistant like ChatGPT can adapt to become a highly personalized learning aide. You pose questions, and the AI responds with targeted, well-crafted answers. As the questions become more refined, the quality of the responses improves. You introduce new information, and the AI offers corrections. It can even evaluate texts you've written and provide tips for improvement. If you encounter difficulties with certain assignments, the AI lends a helping hand, merely leaving you to review and verify the answers and solution paths. And for a touch of amusement, you can ask the AI to assume a specific role, such as that of a historical figure or even Greta Thunberg. Suddenly, you find yourself engaged in a fascinating dialogue that would otherwise be impossible to have.

The excitement doesn't stop there. When you combine this with the use of an AI specialized in translation, such as DeepL, the possibilities become even more captivating. This tool does not only facilitate the creation of good prompts but also has a profound understanding of spelling and grammar in multiple languages, both forwards and backwards.

Examples of AI Usage in Education

The „Zentrum für Lernen und Innovation“ (Center for Learning and Innovation) at the FernUniversität Hagen provides a constantly updated guide on the didactic classification of ChatGPT on the university's website. It explains what ChatGPT is and how it can be used in various learning or teaching scenarios.

In short, there are incredible possibilities at hand, if not for a few challenges. These challenges include data privacy concerns and questions surrounding copyright. But perhaps the most significant challenge is the potential for the AI to generate completely fictional results, unsupported by facts and detached from reality.

A Tool Without an Instruction Manual?

"We are currently in a transitional phase that demands adaptation," says AI ethicist Giada Pistilli, highlighting the insufficient guidance available regarding the ongoing changes in this field. This becomes evident in our handling of problematic content created by AI. While substantial efforts have been made in recent months to ensure that large language models like ChatGPT adhere to ethical principles, a significant hurdle remains: AI has the ability and sometimes does create imaginative falsehoods. If left unquestioned, false information can spread rapidly.

Experts refer to this as "hallucinating AI." Computer scientist and physicist Douglas R. Hofstadter explains this phenomenon by stating that AI systems are "cluelessly clueless" about their own ignorance. Since the AI's output is based on complex interconnected information, it generates human-like responses through probabilities. It's a world of sterile data.

Examples of fictional (hallucinating) AI outputs:

The Pope wearing a trendy down coat – an image generated by Midjourney.

For AI, the concept of a "rose" is merely a string of characters, devoid of the countless associations we humans attach to it. Therefore, the responsibility to verify the accuracy of AI-generated content, question each output, and conduct source research ultimately lies with us humans. By considering this, an entirely new world of learning unfolds before us.

In Summary

AI applications have made their mark in the realm of education. It is crucial to adopt a responsible approach to this technology. Prohibitions are not the solution.
As learning companions, AI models offer opportunities for personalized learning and have the potential to profoundly transform the learning process. It is up to us to courageously explore these new possibilities and uncover their potential.
The utilization of AI models in educational contexts necessitates critical examination of the technology and the results it produces. Particularly, the unfiltered dissemination of falsehoods, the generation of fake news, and the confrontation with problematic, discriminatory, or minority-targeting content must be integral elements of any AI use within an educational context.

By keeping this in mind, AI applications can unlock unforeseen learning opportunities and significantly enhance societal participation.

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