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AI-generated essays raise concerns about academic honesty

New artificial intelligence technology allows students to generate essays, which leads to concerns about academic honesty.

AI are algorithms created within specific limits and rules. However, the boundaries within these limits are vast. AI is able to generate new ideas, problem-solve, make decisions and learn.

Webster’s dictionary defines AI as, “the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.”

Students are now able to give a prompt and receive an entire essay through this evolved technology. VSU has not had widespread conflict with students doing this. However, other universities have.

According to Business Insider, Professor Darren Hick from Furman University and Antony Aumann from Northern Michigan University have had to deal with this conflict. Hick referred to the paper as an “on-topic essay that included well-written misinformation.” Hick failed his student while Aumann allowed a rewrite.

“While the grammar in AI-generated essays is almost perfect, the substance tends to lack detail,” Professor Christopher Bartel at Appalachian State University said, according to Insider.

This showcases how although AI may write well, the content usually lacks depth and factual information.

Detecting this level of cheating is very difficult. The ChatGPT Detector only gives a reasonable statistical likelihood that the work has been generated, and without a confession from the student, it can be hard to prove.

VSU has not issued guidance to detect AI-generated essays.

“They certainly haven’t told us anything,” Dr. Leslie Jones, VSU biology professor, said. “Turnitin is the last big thing we got to catch students cheating, but that doesn’t catch AI.”

The assignment is not the only thing students are cheating, according to Dr. Jones.

“The whole part of an essay is to get them thinking about the material that I want them to learn,” Dr. Jones said. “They are cheating themselves in their education.”

Some students also do not agree with using the AI.

“You wouldn’t get essays from students, you would get essays from AI,” Rebekah Gordon, VSU sophomore criminal justice major, said. “Students wouldn’t put any work into it, and I feel like it would just be plagiarism.”

Emija Halsey, a sophomore computer information systems major, said, “Essays are just so important to figure things out and help you actually learn things if you write the essay yourself.”

VSU’s handbook does cover this type of plagiarism.

VSU’s student handbook Section I, part A states, “No student shall use or attempt to use unauthorized materials or devices to aid in achieving a better grade on a component of any class.”

Written by Jenna Arnold, Staff Reporter. Photo courtesy of Angel Davis, Copy and News Editor.

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