The rapid evolution of AI bots has sparked concerns amongst educators about the integrity of student writing. However, the hysteria may be unwarranted, as historic reactions to new technologies show that these tools often become integral aspects of education and productivity. Generative AI is not annihilating writing but rather revitalizing it, and it's crucial to prepare students for the ethical use of these technologies.
Generative AI: A Catalyst for Writing
Despite the panic surrounding generative AI's impact on writing, it's crucial to recognize that these technologies are not annihilating the practice but rather enriching it. Instead of worrying about students using apps like ChatGPT or Bard AI to circumvent educational values, we should focus on preparing them to use these technologies ethically. After all, resisting these changes because of a nostalgic view of education is simply akin to burying one's head in the sand.
The Future of GenAI: Discipline-specific Algorithms
The current capabilities of GenAI allow for the production of rather generic writing. However, as companies develop discipline-specific algorithms, these bots will begin to exhibit more complex abilities and produce more dynamic and tailored content. This shift will inevitably lead to emerging professions, such as 'Prompt Engineers,' who will guide GenAI to deliver useful outcomes. This transformation underscores the need for students to learn how to write the prompts that guide such AI-driven content.
The future of content production will likely be dominated by subscription GenAI services. As companies build their own AI bots for specific and private needs, the writing process becomes more streamlined and efficient. This shift will necessitate new educational approaches to teach students how to operate in GenAI-supported environments. Hence, educational institutions will need to reassess the role of writing in education and discard embedded beliefs about teaching writing.
Proactive Approach: Incorporating GenAI in Classrooms
Rather than jumping on the anti-AI bandwagon, some forward-thinking educational institutions like the University of Florida are critically engaging with the role of AI in teaching and learning. By holding discussions and forums about how to incorporate GenAI writing bots into classrooms, these institutions are taking a proactive approach, viewing GenAI not as an enemy, but as a new technological teaching tool from which we can learn.