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The voice of the student.

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The voice of the student.

The Wave

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Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?

Artificial+intelligence+offers+a+great+method+for+students+to+take+shortcuts+on+their+school+assignments%2C+but+does+this+really+help+them%3F+Photo+via+Wikipedia+Commons+under+Wikipedia+Commons+License
Artificial intelligence offers a great method for students to take shortcuts on their school assignments, but does this really help them? Photo via Wikipedia Commons under Wikipedia Commons License

Is AI beneficial for our students, or is it harmful? As we move forward in time, technologies become more advanced. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new technology that has recently taken the world by storm. It has benefited the human race in many ways. It has made it easier for people to do small amounts of tedious work, along with helping people when they are looking for inspiration to start a project or essay. However, despite how helpful it has been to us, it hasn’t been too beneficial to students for many reasons, such as its lack of the ability to teach and its tendency to make students lazy when doing school work. We will focus on two AI programs and their positive and negative effects on students. One AI program is ChatGPT. The other AI program is known as MathWay.

The first website we will discuss, ChatGPT, was designed to understand and produce responsive text conversationally. ChatGPT is usually used in business to generate text and content ideas. It was launched on November 30, of 2022.  It was created by OpenAI, a company dedicated to studying AI. OpenAI was founded in 2015 by CEO Sam Altman. ChatGPT has become more widespread, boasting 180.5 million regular users, with 1.5 billion site visitors monthly as of December 2023.

ChatGPT has helped me out in many challenging situations. For example, when I had to create my recipe for a Spanish project or when I had to use it for inspiration on how to start an essay I was stuck on, ChatGPT has saved me many times. Even though it did help me, there were also times when it was my downfall. Sometimes, I would get in trouble for using ChatGPT for inspiration or when I got caught using it to make my thesis statement for a science class. With these came significant consequences. I had gotten zeroes for these assignments, but the most important result of these actions to me was the loss of trust I got from my teachers. Whenever they thought something sounded higher than my level of writing, they would assume it was ChatGPT and ask me to prove it was my writing. This led to many problems down the line because I wasn’t always able to prove that it was my original writing, and because of that, I would get zeroes on many assignments, making my grades suffer tremendously.

I used ChatGPT for many more things I shouldn’t have. Because of its availability and ease of use, I became lazy and turned to ChatGPT for many assignments I didn’t feel like doing. This led me to rely on ChatGPT. I had completely lost my ability to write original text; since I had been relying so heavily on ChatGPT for my work, I couldn’t write anything on the same level of writing as it would give me. It had allowed me to edit pieces of text well, but writing them was where I failed. I felt I had to keep using ChatGPT for my essays because if I didn’t, the teachers would discover I wasn’t the one writing my papers. So, I stuck to ChatGPT for my work and got used to editing it to sound more human. I had never been good at writing, so when I had a way to get good grades on my writing assignments with little energy, I took it without a second thought; I feel that if it affected me this way, it has to have influenced others similarly.  This is very concerning because you can be expelled for using AI to do your work for you in college. If I and others become too reliant on ChatGPT, it might be hard to do essential work without it, and if this happens during our college years, it could ruin our futures.

Our second website, MathWay, founded in 2002 by middle school friends Frank Balcavage and Jake Kuehner, is a leading online math solver platform that the creator hopes can become the first fully automated online math tutor. As of June 23rd, 2020, MathWay’s solver is offered in 13 languages and used by more than 9 million monthly active users in 100+ countries. In 2019, MathWay solved more than 1.3 billion problems for learners. This places MathWay not only in America but all over the world, making it accessible to anyone who has a computer. This makes it beneficial and harmful depending on how it is used. I have had many experiences where MathWay has been an excellent help to me, and I have also seen times where this site has ruined kids’ grades.

With MathWay, many people are on the cusp of whether it is beneficial to kids or not. This debate was introduced because MathWay often solves problems without teaching the kids how to do any work. People think it isn’t helpful because it doesn’t teach people how to solve problems; it gives them a way to get out of doing the work and could lead the students to further complications as they get into more complex math. Additionally, you need to create an account to see how they solved the equation. This leads students to use it more because “I already have an account, so I might as well use it.” I know I did that with this website because I already had an account, and it was so easy to use. I would use it all the time to solve math problems. Even if I knew how to do the math and didn’t need MathWay, I would still use it because it was much easier than solving it alone. It gave me a reason to be lazy with my work, just like Chat GPT did for my essays.

However, some people think it is a beneficial site for kids to check their work and determine if they did something wrong. Some believe that when the kid gets their answer, checking it on a site like MathWay allows them to realize if they are wrong. This gives the kid a second chance to try and fix their mistake and get to the correct answer. It can also help by showing how MathWay solved the problem, allowing the kid to compare how they solved it and see where they might have made their mistake. Although it doesn’t teach the kid how to do the work like sites such as Khan Academy, it does show the kid how it did the problem, allowing them to try and figure it out on their own and see where they made their mistakes.

To answer the question of whether or not AI is beneficial or harmful for students, it does much more harm than it does good. I believe that for many different reasons. Not only does the use of AI not help kids learn how to do their work, but it also gives kids a chance to be lazy with their work. AI software gives kids a reason not to do their school work because “it is right there, and it will do it for us, so why should we do it ourselves?” This is something that I heard one of my friends tell me when I asked him why he uses AI to do his work rather than doing it himself. While I can agree with him to a certain extent, I feel this is incredibly harmful to him and others with this same mindset in the long run because, In college and at work, using these AI websites won’t be tolerated. As mentioned earlier, these websites could lead to expulsion from any college, local or private, and to being fired from jobs. I believe AI is much more harmful than beneficial for all these reasons.

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About the Contributor
Shane Kohan
Shane Kohan, Staff Writer
Shane Kohan is a junior at Marco Island Academy and a Staff Writer for  The Wave. In his free time he enjoys, tracing, listening to music, and working out with friends. He really enjoys art and will talk your ear off about the meanings and beauty of any art he sees. Shane really enjoys science and has for his entire life. He especially succeeds in science and hopes to go into a career based around science in the future. Shane is hoping to go to Florida Polytechnic University, with the intention of becoming an aerospace engineer.
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