Artificial Intelligence and Homeschooling
Partaking of the Forbidden Fruit: AI & Plagiarism
Artificial Intelligence, Chat GPT, and similar chatbots promise to revolutionize academic performance. Human-like responses to questions and highly-developed language processing capabilities provide individualized access to knowledge with a few strokes on a keyboard and the click of the “enter” key. Although AI systems have been developed and used for the last several decades, the emergence and use of Chat GPT represents a significant shift in the use of AI applications. Today’s student faces moral and ethical questions surrounding AI use and application.
As Artificial Intelligence grows and develops, students will have a sudden increased access to information that rivals the rise of the Internet. I’ve fed numerous prompts into Chat GPT, receiving interesting and, in some cases, excellent writing pieces. Ask Chat GPT to write a song about a ballerina in Paris? Done. Ask for a few paragraphs describing the benefits of exercise? No problem. Content spills onto the page faster than I can process. The technology is there, ripe for the taking—right?
The Forbidden Fruit
When God created the first man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, tasking him with the responsibility of caring for the garden, God told him that he could eat of any tree in the garden except one—the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “…for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) After creating the first woman—Eve—God told both that they could enjoy “every plant and fruit yielding seed” (Gen. 1:29). All fruit from plants or trees was there for the taking, except for the one in the center of the garden.
We all know how the story ends. Satan, disguised as a serpent, comes to Eve and manipulates God’s words—did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” (Gen. 3:1) Eve replies with the truth—only one tree bears the forbidden fruit, and they cannot eat or even touch it (Gen. 3:3). Yet, the serpent continues to lie: “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3: 4,5)
Eve is tempted to partake of the forbidden fruit not because it was prettier or tastier than all the other fruit but because of its promised knowledge. By tasting the fruit, Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation to attain knowledge outside God’s plan and purpose. One taste would “open their eyes.” One taste would make them “like God.” A simple action promised to help them ascend beyond their God-given limitations.
Likewise, academic shortcuts are simple actions to bypass the need to learn the material. A couple keyboard strokes circumvent the need to research. A couple keyboard strokes prevent hours of grappling with an assignment. Using AI outside of an instructor’s or institution’s guidelines to complete a writing assignment constitutes plagiarism, and plagiarism is dishonest.
Intellectual dishonesty robs the student of the hours needed to master concepts, whether in language arts, math, or science. Artificial Intelligence is likely here to stay and will likely carve a place in today’s world. One day, students might be required to take courses on effectively using AI. AI could become a significant part of daily life, like TV, laptops, smartphones, and the Internet today.
Using Technology Appropriately
As we all learned how to use Google appropriately, setting safe searches on our web browsers, many of us will need to use AI cautiously. Learning to generate original content and critical thinking skills are paramount to a student’s success.
If you’d like to continue this discussion, I invite you to join us at our Catholic homeschool community. Homeschool Connections is taking the lead in researching how AI will affect us in our homeschools, providing free webinars and articles on the topic.