Whether we would like to confirm it or not, artificial intelligence (AI) was spread in education even before inventing Chat GPT. As long as the use of large language models (such as Chat GPT) became more recognized, like it is nowadays, we were not aware of the potential risks and many questions related to the use of AI including in which way education should address contemporary AI systems. From the other perspective, there are also a lot of discussions about the effects and possibility of using AI in education.
When talking about possibilities in which AI can be used productively in the process of education, teaching assistant at Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (University of Montenegro), and ML and NLP researcher Aleksandar Plamenac addresses the point that application of AI within education is very wide, as it is also among other professions.
First mentioning of the term artificial intelligence dates from 1956. It was coined by McCarthy who followed up on the work of Turing. As it is stated in the article named Artificial intelligence in higher education: the state of the field, the definition of AI has grown and changed since 1956, as there has been significant advancements in AI capabilities. According to this article a current definition of artificial intelligence is “computing systems that are able to engage in human-like processes such as learning, adapting, synthesizing, self-correction and the use of data for complex processing tasks”.
Aleksandar Plamenac points out that tool as it is, for example, Chat GPT can be presented as some kind of interactive tutor for any subject or field. “This software is very proficient in explaining, which provides the chance for students to ask for more profound explanation if the former answer was not clear”, he asserts and adds that for the teachers, Chat GPT can easily help in generating the content and teaching materials for classes, therefore as a helping tool for non-demanding way of finding innovative ideas and topics for researching. He clarifies the fact that for any innovative revolution, thus for this one also, there are negative consequences in each field, not just field of education.
“I am always highlighting that the consequences are not made from the artificial intelligence by its own, but they are produced from people. The main thing we are in need to work on is raising awareness of students of the power of AI, and also presenting AI as a useful tool which can help us in various ways, for example fostering the development of creativity and knowledge”, briefs Plamenac.
Aleksandar Plamenac agrees that students are using AI when doing research or projects, but the ones from technical faculties are more likely to do it, especially if there is a need for programming.
“Considering that programming languages are formal languages, the application of artificial intelligence in this sphere comes to the fore even more, and it gives quite good and precise answers to questions”, tells Plamenac. He is of the opinion that, thanks to the educating youth within the use of Internet, and information and digital literacy, students are familiar with the possibility that Chat GPT can give imprecise or even wrong answers.
It is always considered that, even though AI is expected to be used to contribute to better results, sometimes it can be involved in not so ethical use. There are cases in which students and young fellows abuse AI, consciously or not that in that way they are breaking ethical rules. Aleksandar Plamenac admits that it is very hard to recognize the abuse of those large language systems.
“If the answers are generated, or there is a deficiency of real experience, it can imply that AI was used. Models like Chat GPT do not have real experience, consciousness, and deep understanding of personal experiences. Lack of subjectivity is one more potential factor which can lead to a clue that AI is present”, concludes Plamenac in order to explain the mechanism for recognizing the use of AI.
Technological progress is always slightly ahead of social or legal progress. After the extreme rise of AI in last couple years, there is a lot of changes happening in establishing ethical norms. Aleksandar Plamenac says that we are witnessing that those tools, like Chat GPT, can be misused, so it is very important to set up ethical norms and standards on which bases AI would be applied only to contribute, not to manipulate.
When talking about ethical norms in the sphere of AI and its adequate integration in education, specialist in clinical neuropsychology and neuroscience, and teaching assistant at Faculty of Philosophy (field Psychology - University of Montenegro) Anja Đurić agrees that knowledge about those norms is not developed on satisfying level nor with professors or students. Taking note of the fact that students are more likely to turn on using AI when doing projects because of its efficiency and accessibility, Đurić points out that it is very important for students to recognize the importance of acquiring practical experience within the use of these tools.
She also indicates the significance of formal and non-formal education in improving the understanding of the power of AI use among students and professional staff.
„Formal education, such as structured courses and academic programs, provides a comprehensive ground in the principles and applications of artificial intelligence. Throughout formal education, professional staff and students are provided with a structure through which they can be enabled to understand theoretical concepts and practical skills”, says Đurić. On the other hand, as she adds, informal education, including workshops, seminars and self-directed learning, complements formal education by encouraging a dynamic and adaptive understanding of AI as it points to concrete applications in practice.
Chat GPT is functioning on the bases of textual communication without the capacity to realize emotional components which are inherent to human interactions. “In the absence of emotional context, the demarcation between real world and digital interactions can be challenging. People using Chat GPT on a day-to-day basis may find it difficult to distinguish the authenticity of conversations, potentially blurring the lines between real human communication and algorithmic responses”, mentions Anja Đurić.
In order to explain the way in which frequent use of AI can affect the development of creativity and critical thinking among students, she quoted some research.
„Research from 2023, which was published in the journal called 'Nature', shows concerning data. The results show that 68.9 percent of laziness in people and 27.7 percent of the loss of decision-making ability is a consequence of the influence of AI”, states Đurić.
She referenced existing research named Artificial intelligence in education : challenges and opportunities for sustainable development in order to elucidate that Chat GPT can make learning easier, as students rely on the AI for answers, without trying to solve the given problems on their own. Consequently, this may lead to reduced cognitive development and reduced learning and memory abilities.
“Because Chat GPT can provide instant answers to almost any query, it can prevent students from developing an in-depth understanding of topics. This superficial engagement can negatively affect the formation of long-term memory, as well as reaching more complex tasks too quickly, without understanding the basics”, explains Đurić. On the other hand, as she justified, some researchers believe that AI, with the possibility to automate repetitive and mundane tasks, frees up human cognitive resources for higher-level thinking and analysis.
„By shifting routine tasks to AI systems, people can focus more on complex and creative problem solving”, Anja Đurić referred to by quoting pundit Yilmaz.
Persistent use of electronic devices can negatively affect human interpersonal relations and social adjustment of adolescents, and it can also lead to social interaction isolation. Because of those reasons, which she mentioned from existing results of research, she explains that there is a possibility of decreased development of emotional intelligence among students.
Đurić looked back at research asserting that 82 percent of information in class is conveyed through non-verbal communication and non-verbal behavior (such as smiling, eye contact, voice cadence). “Furthermore, non-verbal communication and effective involvement of students in discussions are central to effective teaching”, she claimed by quoting Frymier.
She advises professors and teachers to provide students with verbal and non-verbal information during their lectures that will enhance the understanding and development of emotional intelligence, as well as give a model of behavior that will provide insight into an adequate understanding of social interactions and emotional intelligence.