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Not your parents’ Google: Why universities should embrace, not fear, ChatGPT and AI

Not your parents’ Google: Why universities should embrace, not fear, ChatGPT and AI

USA Today

Michael A. Fitts
April 7, 2023
ChatGPT and its artificial intelligence kin may be one of the best things that’s happened to universities in a long time. That’s important to remember amid all the handwringing (I’ve done my share) in higher education circles over essay writing and academic rigor in light of this AI marvel.
ChatGPT in academics is a complex issue. It’s not your parents’ Google, and educational leaders should carefully consider the intersections between the age-old mission of teaching and learning and this new technology.
The first intersection is speed. Google made it possible to find an answer in a matter of keystrokes. ChatGPT further accelerates this by not merely finding an answer but also presenting that answer in a finished product.
AI can give creative minds more time to solve problems
If ChatGPT eliminates rote work, freeing academic minds to pursue new possibilities and apply their time and energy to solve novel problems, it could multiply academic potential and lead to more breakthroughs more quickly. In fields such as biomedical research, the result could be lifesaving.
However, speed could come at the cost of comprehensive understanding. Consider GPS. Enter two points into your phone and you won’t get lost. It’s easy and efficient. Relying on paper maps, personal familiarity and trial and error to get from one point to another is not. But the latter gives us a richer, more thorough understanding of our local geography and how streets, neighborhoods and cities all fit together. Siri doesn’t.

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