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AI programs like ChatGPT could change Saskatchewan education, experts say

Click to play video: 'AI programs like ChatGPT could change Saskatchewan education, experts say'
AI programs like ChatGPT could change Saskatchewan education, experts say
The artificial intelligence (AI) program ChatGPT allows people to chat with computers as if they are real human beings, which is impacting both students and professors in Saskatchewan. – Feb 26, 2023

“‘The University of Saskatchewan is seeing a surge in artificial intelligence (AI) research, with faculty members from various departments exploring its potential applications,’ according to Eric Neufeld, a computer science professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

“While some fear the disruptive impact of AI, Neufeld believes that the technology’s immediate effect will be seen in the education system, particularly in teaching writing and reading. Neufeld notes that while AI such as ChatGPT has potential in website design and as a productivity tool, he does not foresee it replacing human communication in the short term.”

The intro to this story is what Global News got when we asked ChatGPT to write a news lead based on interviews we inputted to the program.

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The online service is one people have been talking about online for weeks now. The artificial intelligence (AI) program allows people to chat with computers as if they are real human beings.

In Saskatchewan, there are many practical implications of the advanced technology.

And some academic leaders are already turning to the program for help.

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“Personally, I’ve been using it for just about everything,” University of Regina technology professor Alec Couros said. “Emails, discussions with students and developing lessons.”

ChatGPT has become very popular in schools, specifically when it comes to writing essays.

By logging in, the user can request a paper on anything — a recipe, a broadcast news voiceover and more.

Couros believes AI has huge potential for teaching and learning.

“These tools can enhance education, personalize the experience for students and they can create better assessments and give better feedback,” Couros said.

The papers, however, don’t mean students are out of the woodwork from getting the assignments done themselves.

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“If you want it to write you a five-paragraph essay, it’ll do it in seconds, but it’s also very quick to tell you if that essay has been plagiarized or ‘AI-giarized’,” Couros told Global News.

For Eric Neufeld, a computer science professor at the University of Saskatchewan, the AI is powerful technology, but does come with some risks down the line.

“If you cheat for a number of years on how to write sentences and paragraphs and essays, sooner or later you’re going to be in trouble when you’re asked to be truly creative,” Neufeld.

Some raise questions on whether AI will replace jobs moving forward in Saskatchewan, and for Neufeld, it is unclear just how many jobs this might affect.

“It will make some jobs redundant, but it is hard to predict at this point,” he said.

Both researchers believe AI has a lot of growing to do, but for now, there is no harm keeping up to date with your technology use.

“Instead of just hiding from it, give it a try,” Couros said. “See what it can do for you.”

Click to play video: 'UBC helping AI overcome language barrier'
UBC helping AI overcome language barrier

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