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

Students Express Mixed Views on Using AI

By Guy Gong
Staff Writer | The Pacific Times

The Pacific Times surveyed current students about the use of artificial intelligence, more commonly referred to as AI, and while some expressed concerns about using this technology for school assignments, others don’t feel it is an issue. 

Out of the 147 responses received, 61.9% of students reported having used AI at least once. For students who reported they had used AI before, when asked if it is ethical to use AI for school assignments, 30.8% answered that it depends on the situation while 61.5% answered that it was unethical to use AI for school assignments, and 7.7% answered that it was ethical.

“Using AI to simply get answers or just finish assignments is simply cheating, but using it for purposes of assistance would be similar to asking a teacher for help, and if asking for help on an assignment is allowed, then AI is one way of using your resources,” wrote one student.

More than 60% of students responded that they cared about using AI ethically.

For students who had never used AI before, 80.4% believed that it was not ethical to use AI for school and only 1.7% believed that it was completely ethical.

“I don’t think it’s okay to use AI for important assignments like products,” one student from the poll said. “I believe AI should be a tool that is used in order to help a student get a better understanding of a prompt with an example. However, if the student doesn’t learn to do it on their own and use it for tests, I don’t think it’s okay.”

Students were asked about their opinions on AI-generated art, and their opinions ranged widely from praise to discouragement.

“Though AI art seems to be fascinating and an easy alternative for creativity conceptually, it has the potential to be used maliciously.” wrote one student. “There should be moderation and regulation over its usage, as well as some sort of jurisdiction in place to protect artists’ rights.”

When asked about their opinions on AI-generated voices, some students indicated they found it “creepy” while others found it “funny” or “fascinating.”

Overall, the reactions were mixed, with positive and negative opinions about the use of AI being mostly even.

Teachers’ views also seemed to be even when it came to students using AI.

Kirsten Spall, an English teacher at NP3 High School, said “I think AI has a lot of possibilities and that it is going to dramatically shift how we live and work.”

She expected that students would use AI to cheat on their schoolwork.

When asked if she had any cheating incidents in her classes this year, Spall reported that she had not caught any, but she does not rule out the possibility that they were able to cheat without being caught.

“My suspicion is that there have been students who used AI to write part or all of their assignments. I don’t think a student has used ChatGPT to complete an entire assignment, but I’m sure they have used it to complete parts.”

Spall said she has put in some AI countermeasures for all of her English classes by providing opportunities for students to use AI ethically.

“I think fighting students using AI is a lost cause. It’s not gonna work, and it’s just gonna frustrate people,” said Spall. ”As the technology improves, teachers are gonna have to find a way to integrate it and teach students on how to use it ethically and well. The problem is that we as teachers don’t even know how to do that.”

“Teachers can’t be expected to turn on a dime and instantly know how to counteract AI” she added.

Donald Lowery, a Computer Science teacher at NP3 High School, has a more positive perspective.

“I like AI and the advancements that it will bring. I look forward to better creative tools, and hopefully a fully automated food supply chain,” said Lowery. “Automated farming and shipping would be great.”

Students use AI to cheat in programming classes by asking AI to write code for them, according to Lowery.

On the subject of cheating, Lowery said he counteracts it pretty well.

“I have verbal procedures entwined with all of my product assignments,.” said Lowery.” If a student has the ability to verbally explain a topic or idea, then I’m 99% sure they aren’t cheating.”

Senior Amteshwar Dhillon says he has used AI art generation and has used ChatGPT to “summarize some articles and chapters.”

When asked about his opinions on AI-based cheating, he said,“There are people who are gonna cheat regardless, so if there wasn’t AI, they would’ve cheated using something else. If anything, AI is just easier to catch.”

Senior Julian Padilla has used AI to make “goofy pictures,” play games, and do “busy work that I won’t benefit from.”

Padilla says “I think (AI usage) is very widespread but I don’t think it’s a very serious problem. AI is mostly used to help learn and process and maybe gather information. Most people don’t actually use it to copy or plagiarize.”

Freshman Remington Ellenbogen said he has used AI “…just mostly for funny, really long names for stuff that doesn’t really matter.”

“If you’re using it to write your essay or a whole paper, I don’t think it’s your work,” Ellenbogen said about the ethics of using AI for school. “If you’re using it to help you understand or review, it’s a lot better.” In the future, he said there may be more government regulation because “there’s just in general a lot of problems. For art, it’s been known to steal other people’s work that people don’t want to be used in training.”

Go to SPECIAL PROJECT: AI Usage at School