**A.I. in Education: Debating its Value and Impact**
**The Divide: A.I. as a Democratizing Tool vs. Cutting Corners**
At a recent Brainstorm Tech conference, a lively discussion on the role of artificial intelligence (A.I.) in education took place. Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig defended A.I. as a tool that provides affordable educational assistance to students who cannot afford private tutors. However, Nadya Okamoto, founder of the startup August Period, disagreed, arguing that A.I., such as ChatGPT and Chegg, encourages students to take shortcuts and copy answers instead of learning.
**The Concerns: Real Learning vs. Convenient Tools**
Okamoto expressed concerns about the use of A.I. tools like ChatGPT for doing schoolwork. She shared an example of her younger sister using ChatGPT to write all her school essays, questioning the purpose of attending college if students don’t write their own essays. Okamoto worries that the available tools make it easier for students to avoid doing the real work and hinder true learning.
**The Impact: Mixed Opinions among Educators and Students**
Similar concerns have been raised across school districts nationwide. In a survey by Education Week, 47% of teachers expressed concerns that A.I. would have a negative effect on teaching and learning. However, educators and students acknowledge that A.I. technology is here to stay. Stanford University even hosted a summit dedicated to A.I. in education, while Australia is expected to overturn a ban on ChatGPT in public schools. The fear is that students without access to A.I. tools may lag behind their peers from private schools.
**Okamoto’s Stand: Utilizing A.I. despite the Downsides**
While Okamoto shares concerns about A.I. in education, she admits to using A.I. tools herself. She regularly used Chegg during her studies and now uses ChatGPT for her op-ed writing, allowing the tool to edit and improve her work. Okamoto sees it as a practical solution that saves time and money while enhancing her writing skills. She believes it doesn’t constitute cheating because she still develops the ideas herself.
**The Tradeoffs: Time Saved vs. Educational Resilience**
Despite the conveniences A.I. offers, Okamoto acknowledges the tradeoffs of using A.I. tools. By relying on these tools, she misses out on the educational resilience gained from doing research independently. However, she wonders if this resilience is still necessary in the future world shaped by A.I.
**Corporate World’s Perspective: A.I. Enhancing Efficiency**
The corporate world also sees potential in A.I. technology to free employees from mundane tasks, allowing them to focus on strategic and important work.
In conclusion, the debate on A.I. in education continues. While proponents view it as a democratizing tool, giving all students access to educational resources, critics argue that it enables shortcuts and undermines true learning. Educators and students hold mixed opinions, acknowledging both the potential benefits and concerns. Despite using A.I. tools herself, Okamoto is aware of the tradeoffs, recognizing the time saved but also the potential loss of educational resilience. Ultimately, as A.I. continues to shape the future, finding a balance between convenience and real learning remains crucial.