© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

UW administration is considering the consequences and ethics of AI

ChatGTP logo
ChatGTP logo

At the University of Wyoming, a working group has recommended that administration take steps to address — and responsibly use — artificial intelligence (AI) like ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that mimics human conversation and writing, and it's good enough that it could radically alter academia. Students could use it to help with homework, professors could use it to co-write academic papers and administrators could use it to produce public relations materials.

Vice Provost Anne Alexander said the university needs to plan for all of that.

"AI, and in particular the kind of AI we were looking at — which is generative, large language models like ChatGPT — they're really growing exponentially in their abilities and their access," she said.

Alexander, and the working group she co-chaired, developed a set of recommendations for how the university responds to ChatGPT and other rapidly developing AI. The recommendations include rewriting the academic dishonesty policy, forming a permanent group to monitor and advise on the developing technology and preparing instructors to use, or at least live with, ChatGPT and other AI.

The group also recommends hiring AI instructors and researchers, and educating both employees and students on the ethics of AI.

Alexander said the recommendations are not about banning the technology.

"It's out there; they're going to use it," she said. "So how do we help them use it ethically and in ways that will help them with their critical and creative thinking skills?"

Likewise, the group suggests providing example syllabus language for UW faculty outlining how AI can or should be used in their classes. There would be variations on that example language — from a total prohibition on chatbots to unrestricted use of AI on assignments, and everything in between.

"We're keeping it flexible in our language suggestions," Alexander said. "Because there are professors and there are faculty members and lecturers who would like to teach their students how to use this — or who fully expect they’re going to use it whether they say it's okay or not."

ChatGPT is the most visible and discussed AI application in the zeitgeist right now, but it is far from the only example. Note-taking and transcription apps like Otter.ai or the image-generator DALL-E 2 also have potential for use and abuse in an academic setting.

Alexander said UW ought to prepare students to make use of these apps in their lives beyond college. She said the university also needs to partner with K-12 schools and community colleges to approach the issue holistically.

"This isn't just a University of Wyoming issue," she said. "It's an education ecosystem issue."

The various recommendations will require action by UW President Ed Seidel and the Board of Trustees to go into effect.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
Related Content