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Artificial Intelligence in Academics at Pitt-Greensburg: Professors Weigh the Pros and Cons of Bots on Campus

by Alissa Brown

Photo Courtesy of Markus Spiske on Unsplash

With more and more instances of Artificial Intelligence being used in academia, AI bots like ChatGPT are taking the university world by (cyber)storm. And professors at Pitt-Greensburg have opinions about it.

Dr. Sean DiLeonardi, assistant professor of English, says resistance is futile. 

“Any attempt to resist AI or remove it from the classroom completely is like facing a tidal wave. Its reworking of our society is inevitable,” DiLeonardi, who is also the new director of The Pitt-Greensburg Center for Digital Humanities, says.

DiLeonardi has hopes and some reservations about AI, though he’s sure there’s a place for it in schools in the near future.

“In my classroom, I hope to help students think about how to responsibly use AI as a creative tool, as a means of brainstorming, and as a collaborative possibility,” DiLeonardi says.

However, not all Pitt-Greensburg professors are as optimistic about Artificial Intelligence being utilized in the classroom.

Associate Professor of Communication Dr. Jessica L Ghilani is more wary about the integration of AI in academics.

“As with any tech, people will find ways to use and create with it that are outside of the original intentions for which it was created,” Ghilani says.

Although AI is being used in unsavory ways to cheat or even plagiarize, Ghilani thinks humans are capable of keeping up with it.

On AI work potentially becoming indistinguishable from human creatives, Ghialni says, “I don’t think it will replace real humans in creative fields.”

Other professors on campus are expectant and willing to carve a place for Artificial Intelligence in their classrooms.

Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Communication Dr. Danielle R. Mehlman-Brightwell says, “In the future, I can see myself using AI ethically in my classroom, but I am not sure to what extent that will be… get back to me in a year.”

Bryan McCarthy, visiting assistant professor of Philosophy, recognizes the potential positives of AI, but urges students to not become complacent.

“Anybody who is entirely sanguine about artificial intelligence is just not paying attention,” McCarthy says.

Artificial Intelligence in schools seems inevitable. There are plenty of reasons to be wary, but according to some Pitt-Greensburg professors, it might be an inevitability they can live with.

When asked about Artificial Intelligence’s place in education, McCarthy replied, “Can it grade papers?”

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