UNIVERSITIES across WA are grappling with the impact of artificial intelligence as first semester 2023 winds up and students submit final papers and sit exams.
Students and faculty members have expressed deep concerns about the widespread use of ChatGPT, a revolutionary software released in November last year that has the ability to answer and write university papers. This semester will be a litmus test on how prevalent its use has become.
Already the ease of its operation has resulted in a surge in rates of academic misconduct, leaving universities worldwide on edge.
First-year Notre Dame law student Mack Braddock said it was “common” to hear of students using ChatGPT to cheat, and “often” evading detection.
The prevalence of this AI-driven cheating has become a cause for concern among the academic community.
Lecturer and tutor Khin Myint, who teaches at both Notre Dame and Curtin universities, said he had encountered misuse of ChatGPT numerous times throughout the semester.
“One tutor had 18 AI-produced essays submitted in her unit this semester,” Dr Myint revealed.
He emphasised the profound consequences of cheating, noting it ultimately results students graduating without the requisite expertise for their degrees.
Recognising the inevitability of AI’s integration into the learning and professional environment, he said both Curtin and Notre Dame were in discussion on how to employ AI ethically in the educational process.
Efforts are underway to develop software capable of detecting the use of ChatGPT and similar AI technologies. However, the effectiveness of such tools remains uncertain.
The rise of ChatGPT and its exploitation highlights the pressing need for universities to strike a delicate balance between harnessing the benefits of AI and safeguarding academic integrity. The academic community must confront this challenge head-on, implementing robust measures to deter cheating and promote a culture of honesty and ethical conduct.
by HUGH MADDERN