No, AI Shouldn’t be Banned in School



Screen with ChatGPT chat with AI or artificial intelligence. Man search for information using artificial intelligence chatbot.

It’s been about six months since OpenAI threw the preverbal middle finger to the worldwide education system.

Chaos has reigned, the integrity of papers has crumbled, and teachers cradle their syllabi against the unyielding knowledge of ChatGPT

And the end is anything but nigh. In fact, the AI wars have only just begun, with each tech giant hoping to upheave Google’s search-engine market dominance.

This is without mentioning the dozens of open-source generators cascading into the web, courtesy of our particularly tech-minded internet denizens.  

Is education really doomed though?

After all, new technology always sees last-generation scholars complaining about the displacement of their favorite education principles.

Roman philosophers complained that paper would hinder memory, many more about spellcheck, and I’m sure there were some elderly disparaging the next generation’s inability to unjam a typewriter.

And guess what, society moved on. Sure, “kids these days” might not be as good as spelling, but life has gone on. We now type on computers that all have spellcheck, so it doesn’t matter that there might be more mistakes. Indeed, much time is saved by avoiding trips down dictionary lane or worrying about minor typos instead of manually correcting everything. 

Bearing this in mind, there was just something about how students were simply told “Don’t use ChatGPT” which rubbed me the wrong way.

It’s societal déjà vu; are we simply repeating our past tendencies to harangue on new technology which will become commonplace in several years’ time? And if so, why waste energy resisting inevitable change when we could be figuring out how to use it to our advantage?

Evidently, after some thought and much late-night insomnia, ranging from mild changes to a complete systematic overhaul, I present several solvent solutions to solve our struggles with society’s Semi-Sentient. 

I’ll be ranking each in three ways: 

  • Systematic change: How much work and how much change would be required to implement it? 
  • AI use: How would people use AI if the solution were implemented and how does the solution intend to be used? 
  • Educational benefit: How would the solution affect learning in class and how well would it teach skills that will be needed later in life? 

Solution 1: Elevated Expectation 

  • Systematic change: Easy 
  • AI use: Unregulated  
  • Educational benefit: Better than nothing 

This solution is to basically allow the use of AI but with higher standards because AI work should be better. This still preserves learning though, because AI isn’t just an “instant win” button as it is commonly misconceived.

Generated responses will always lack a certain measure of nuance or specificity, so the students who are better at writing will still remain better at writing, just with better(er) final products. This can also be balanced out by several “no AI” assignments to reinforce learning of basic writing structure. 

Solution 2: Handwritten hell 

  • Systematic change: Easy 
  • AI use: Rejected 
  • Educational benefit: Save us 

As someone who writes like an ape with a pencil taped to its elbow, this idea strikes pure terror into my soul.

Requiring students to handwrite will result in worse responses because handwritten work is slower and harder to review. This will also result in grades being more determined by the ability to translate ideas onto the paper rather than the quality of the ideas themselves.

Standards for work will also need to be lowered, which is counterproductive in improving students’ skills. Granted, I am definitely quite biased, but I’d be willing to bet you’re thinking “I guess it wouldn’t be that” at best. 

Solution 3: Thesis defense 

  • Systematic change: A bit of restructure 
  • AI use: As a tool 
  • Educational benefit: A good amount 

Imagine if there was a way to stop cheating with AI not by implementing restrictions, but rather by making a clever addition to certain assignments. Students can be required to submit a separate thesis defense document that explains what they wrote, why they wrote it, and why it contributes to the answer.

This would actually improve writing by serving as a sort of conceptual proofreading and by causing students to be more deliberate in their details. Better yet, responses couldn’t be copy-pasted from anywhere because the user wouldn’t be able to explain them.

All this opens up the possibility for AI to be used as a tool to complement and boost someone’s existing skills without replacing them. 

Solution 4: Creative Corrections 

  • Systematic change: Heavy planning is necessary 
  • AI use: Won’t be very helpful 
  • Educational benefit: Large 

Perhaps we can all collectively agree that it’s a good thing that AI covers the boring stuff for us. Why not move to more fun and creative assignments that AI can’t recreate?

Maybe your next essay could be extra saucy with that specific mood or tone.

Instead of just providing reasons that fossil fuel is bad, wouldn’t it be fun to make a satirical piece that is written from the skewed perspective of an oil executive in such a sarcastic way that it really provides evidence for regulation?

Enough of formal essays this, professional slideshow that, it’s time for something new and interesting. Obviously, certain topics, like tragic current events, shouldn’t be treated with a “kooky twist,” and that’s fine.

In fact, teaching emotional tone in writing will only make students more adept at identifying a proper mood for a topic. The main issue with this solution is that creativity grades are more subjective to the teacher, but that can actually be a benefit by requiring students to more thoroughly empathize with the audience of a piece. 

Solution 5:  Change Nothing

  • Systematic change: None 
  • AI use: Unregulated 
  • Educational benefit: Negative 

So what happens if we decide that actually no, ChatGPT doesn’t exist, so why change anything?

Maybe not much. Many students treat chatbot use as a joke, leaving few that actually cheat with it. These few generally have lower grades and fewer qualms about other forms of cheating, so maybe some C’s and D’s turn into B’s, but there won’t be much of an overall increase in grades or academic chicanery.

After all, participation grades still exist and not all homework can be replaced with an AI. Also, if so much of a class grade is determined solely by an easily cheatable paper, then it’s probably time to reconsider the class structure.

And sure, the world will go on if nothing changes, but why simply patch a hole when you can easily build a better metaphorical boat instead? 

Or maybe I’m lying to you all.

Maybe AI is even more capable than feared. Maybe AI will replace all learning and there’s nothing we can do. Should we submit to our robot overlords now and spare the struggle?

Because what if I told you that this entire article–even this sentence–was generated on ChatGPT in ten minutes?

Sounds so incredible that it can’t possibly be true, right? Obviously. I would never tell you that. The fact is, AI simply isn’t capable of this and never will be. Sure, it can do some great things, but a five-page mishmash of hot takes and questionable literary decisions pulled from the mind of a slightly unhinged youth is not one of them.

And that’s the Achilles heel of the whole debacle: no matter how perfect its model, how wide its knowledge, AI will never be able to recreate the quirks, flaws, and ideas of any one person.  

Ultimately, there are many “solutions” to AI in education. I’m sure these solutions will take many different forms in many different places, and that’s the cheesy moral of this story.

To beat AI, we must accept that standardization can’t replace personality and uniqueness. We must avoid the sad-cubicle-office-horrification of students at all costs.

We need to instill a sense of individuality, creativity, and meaning into assignments. It won’t be easy and it won’t be permanent; the bots will keep getting improving and therefore must our tactics against them.

There will and might never be a clear end to the battle between automata and our ingenuity in creating situations so human that only humans can answer.

There is, however, one guarantee: education will not just survive lest we fight this war, but it will flourish.