‘AI can do anything’: students share opinions on AI

This story was originally published in the March 3 newsmagazine.
This art was made using AI source Magic Media through Canva. The prompt was to design “students in gear that say ‘WKU’ using computers.”
This art was made using AI source Magic Media through Canva. The prompt was to design “students in gear that say ‘WKU’ using computers.”
Bailey Reed

When entering a new class, WKU students now have a new section of the syllabus to consider: the use of artificial intelligence in the classroom.

Students now have to understand for each course they take when they can and cannot use AI, as there is no universal WKU policy on its usage. The policy on the syllabus is up to the discretion of the professor.

In 2022, the Pew Research Center found that “27% of Americans say they interact with AI at least several times
a day, while another 28% think they interact with it about once a day or several times a week.”

AI is present in everyday life, including Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Face ID recognition and social media, whether the general population recognizes it or not. Additionally, Pew Research found that society is still cautious of AI, as “just 15% say they are more excited than concerned about the increasing use of AI in daily life, compared with 38% who are more concerned than excited; 46% express an equal mix of concern and excitement.”

As AI continues to grow and learn, it was only inevitable that it would start to affect universities and their students – whether that means simply utilizing AI to study or going as far as having it write entire papers.

Students on the Hill expressed mixed opinions on AI, with most believing it can be a useful tool if used in the “right context.”

Hunter Lee, a sophomore meteorology student, uses ChatGPT to generate TikTok ideas and captions, as well as to brainstorm ideas for papers.

Sophomore meteorology major Hunter Lee films a TikTok outside of the Downing Student Union on Feb. 24. Lee explained that he has used AI to generate ideas for his content creation. (Dominic Di Palermo)

When asked if students should be able to use AI in the classroom, Lee said “there is a difference between it doing everything for you and you asking it for ideas.”

“I think if you use it in a good manner without abusing it, I think it’s very beneficial to have,” Lee said.

Lee found that most of his professors are pro-AI and are “not going over the line and using it for everything.”

At WKU, professors are required to have a section in their syllabus dedicated to their own preference on AI usage for class, which was just implemented in the 2023-2024 academic year.

Students now have to understand the consequences that could come with using AI when prohibited. Plagiarism, academic dishonesty and the policy of any given professor must all be taken into account. Rather than falling down this rabbit hole, Lee had different suggestions for his classmates on how to use AI.

“AI can do anything,” Lee said. “For me, coming up with ideas is one of the best things you can use AI for. Ideas on topics for a paper, ideas on how to write the paper, ideas on how to do a TikTok video. There’s so many ways to use AI.”

However, the capabilities of AI are still intimidating. Lee delved into his fears with AI and its abilities becoming a little too innovative, referring to AI “deep fakes,” or videos of someone in which their face or body has been altered so they appear as someone else, often used to spread misinformation.

Justin Wallace, a senior graphic design major, expressed that “the only thing that scares me is that they [corporations] will try to insert chips into people’s bodies eventually,” reminiscent of the movie “I, Robot” starring Will Smith.

Senior Justin Wallace is a graphic design major who uses AI for his user de- sign classes. Wallace posed for a photo in the Fine Arts Center on Feb. 22. (Dominic Di Palermo)

Wallace uses AI in an academic context, for his user design classes and as a search engine on the internet, something people may not realize is AI.

“I do believe AI should be used in school and on campus depending on the class and if the teacher wants to use it or not,” Wallace said. “I feel that AI is beneficial to help with jobs and educational purposes, [when] used in the right context.”

Despite some support for AI at WKU, some students think AI does not have a necessary place in the classroom.

“I do not feel there should be a ban on using AI in the classroom,” Alyssa Fisk, a junior social work major, said. “However, I would say in most cases, it is not needed. The professor is the expert in what they are teaching and can give personal advice, while AI is a computer-generated program with answers that are not personal.”

Fisk also does not like to use AI in her personal life. She said AI will function off of societies’ current ideologies, which she believes will continue to perpetuate racist ideals and harm oppressed groups.

“I do not like using AI, as it is a computer-operated system that is biased towards certain groups and values,” Fisk said. “This system is following the current where there is racism, sexism and ageism. These beliefs are then just portrayed into the answers you are given through AI.”

This infographic was generated by Piktochart, an AI source used specifically for graphs and presentation making. All art, color schemes, and organizational contents were designed by Piktochart, and quotes from WKU students were inserted by the author of this article. (Alexandria Anderson)

News Reporter Bailey Reed can be reached at [email protected]