The AI Dilemma

Within the last year, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a hotly debated topic, especially for college students navigating the realm of academic integrity. 

In a study titled “Creativity and Artificial Intelligence—A Student Perspective,” Rebecca Marrone et al. set out to explore the effects of AI on the creativity of college students. Participants were tasked with brainstorming various uses for a paper clip, first without the help of technology. A month later, the same exercise was repeated, this time utilizing AI for assistance in brainstorming. 

The findings revealed a contradiction in students’ perceptions of AI’s role in creativity. On one hand, students hailed AI as a valuable tool that aided in generating more creative ideas. Participants noted the convenience of having “another brain” to assist in brainstorming sessions, with 100% of participants expressing appreciation for AI’s contributions. However, concerns were raised regarding overreliance on AI, with some students reporting that it stifled independent thinking and decreased confidence in their own creative abilities. 

While AI assisted in the generation of creative and diverse ideas, it also triggered a “fixation of the mind,” where students struggled to generate original ideas after exposure to AI-generated suggestions. 

The study also highlighted AI’s tendency to produce repetitive ideas, indicating reliance on existing content rather than an ability to foster genuine creativity. AI generators, such as ChatGPT, work by scanning extensive databases of content, some of which is utilized without explicit consent of the original author. As such, this raises significant ethical concerns regarding the use of AI generators, particularly in academia. 

Although Eastern Oregon University does not have an official policy on student use of AI generators, some instances of usage might fall under the definitions of cheating or plagiarism, which is against the Academic Honesty Code. Individual professors may also have their own policies explicitly forbidding the use of generators in their class.  

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