Emerging Artificial Intelligence Technology in Higher Education

How is emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technologies impacting the higher education industry and how are universities managing the new capabilities?

With the emergence of generative AI this year, the conversation surrounding AI technology within the higher education industry is at all-time high.

Since many institutions and students have different perspectives on the ethical boundaries and uses of AI in higher education, now is an opportune time to take a look at how higher education is currently using AI, the potential risks new AI poses and how universities are addressing these risks.

Higher Education and AI: Current State and Uses

Several higher education institutions already use AI, utilizing AI research assistants, AI tools to assist in grading and providing feedback to students and even AI teaching assistants.

Many of these tools can be used to replace mundane tasks that are typically performed by faculty and professors.

Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) is a newer tool that has become more prevalent in recent months. GPT is a neural network machine learning model trained, using internet data, to generate any kind of text. It only requires a small amount of input to generate a sophisticated text.

The continued use of AI technologies can not only reduce  workloads for faculty, professors and higher education institutions as a whole, but it can also change the way students perform their tasks and assignments.

Higher Education and AI: Potential Risks

As with any technology, potential advantages also pose potential risks. In the realm of higher education, there are several concerns over risks associated with AI, with key concerns being:

  • Risk of difficulties in understanding and deploying the complex AI technologies
  • Risk of ineffective teaching, as utilizing the technology across a range of students may reduce the personalized learning opportunities that a diverse student body needs
  • Risk of more academic integrity issues with AI Technology, specifically GPT
  • Risk to the privacy and security of student, faculty, and professor information if the AI technology requires data collection to function
Higher Education and AI: Addressing AI Risk

So, is AI technology worth the risks that it may pose? The answer to this is not clear and, based on the conversations surrounding AI in higher education, not close. But there are some steps universities can take to mitigate the potential risks associated with AI technologies, including:

  • Understanding the technology and having a willingness to embrace it
  • Learning how it can be incorporated at the institutions effectively and safely
  • Proactively preparing and assessing how the technology is being used to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved
  • Implementing of clear and transparent policies and safeguards in order to protect sensitive data

If you have any questions surrounding the AI in higher education, please contact the Schneider Downs Higher Education Industry Group at [email protected] .

About Schneider Downs Higher Education Services

The Schneider Downs Higher Education industry group is a dedicated team of experienced professionals specializing in serving institutions from high schools to universities. Our experience in audit and assurance, tax advisory, technology and data and more allow our professionals to stay ahead of the latest trends, developments and challenges within the education sector and provide timely and practical solutions to our clients. 

To learn more, visit our Higher Education Industry Group page. 

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The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].

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