The Pacific Times | The Only Student-Run News Website in Natomas

Opinion: AI is Detrimental to Learning

By Jugaad Dhaliwal, Junior
For The Pacific Times

Large language models have been in development for many years but only those with very powerful hardware were able to use them. With the advent of ChatGPT from OpenAI, the access to large language models was made as easy as visiting a website. Students were some of the first to capitalize on these new tools and used them to complete assignments. Critical thinking skills are the basis of living an adult life and without them it’s hard to say a person has matured. The use of AI by students to write for them is unethical. Although the use of AI makes it easier for students to write faster and better, it does not allow the students to develop their own thinking skills and takes away the responsibility for the student to learn the subject which are the goals of education.

AI can write some of the best essays and papers ever. They take in a prompt and based on that generate an output however it was requested. Students use this to their advantage by giving the same prompt given to them by their instructor to generate answers to their school work. Although this means that they are producing some of the best work in the class, they are only showing that they can use the copy and paste feature of any computer. This leads to the students not developing any of their thinking skills because they are not using them. Although the writing is phenomenal, it is unethical to use AI to complete the assignments. This is because the students are at school to develop skills which come from the process more than the product. If a student gets a worse grade but has learned how to analyze text and create their own ideas they are doing better than someone who got a perfect grade but doesn’t actually know how to think critically. Many schools call this academic dishonesty but it’s more than that, it is dishonest to the student because the student is cheating themselves out of the development of their skills. Even though using AI can help students complete assignments it doesnt give them the ability to develop important life skills.

AI is unethical because it goes against the very fundamentals of schools and education. The goal of schools is to teach students about various subjects to build a large knowledge base from where they can build off to create a career path or other direction for their life. AI makes these goals irrelevant because a student no longer has any responsibility to learn. Prior to AI the students needed to learn in order to get good grades and eventually go to higher education. After AI, the student does not need to learn anything about a topic, unless there are very strict testing protocols in place. This means that the schools serve almost no purpose to the students since anyone can complete a course without any learning or effort.

The argument can be made that AI will be so integrated into society in the future that there will be no need for anyone to know anything. This could be true but we are years away from that. Just like the saying that a student won’t have a calculator in their pocket all the time became false, the same can happen to AI. Right now we are in the present and AI is in very early stages. It not only isn’t always accurate but it also cannot generate completely new ideas because of how it fundamentally works. These issues could be mitigated but to have AI become part of society like some hope, it has to be very profitable which is difficult due to the sheer amount of computational power needed to run these models. Ethics also differ from person to person. Some value hard work and effort while others only care about the end product.

Although AI is very helpful in writing or doing school work, it fails to allow a student to develop necessary life skills, and doesn’t allow schools to complete their job as an educational institution. This makes it unethical because it cheats the student out of being able to get better skills and being knowledgeable. In order to find the ethical boundaries of AI we need to agree on what is more important, a student’s education or a student’s grades.

Go to SPECIAL PROJECT: AI Usage at School