Manja Schüle (SPD), Brandenburg Minister for Science, Research and Culture. © Soeren Stache/dpa/Archivbild
How are students allowed to use the text program ChatGPT and other AI tools? How great is the risk of cheating? For universities, the use of AI in teaching is still uncharted territory. Science Minister Schüle is open - and is curious about ChatGPT herself.
Potsdam - Artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as the text program ChatGPT are also becoming increasingly important at universities - universities in Brandenburg are open-minded and see them as opportunities rather than risks. Brandenburg's Minister of Science Manja Schüle (SPD) also does not think it makes sense to ban AI tools in university teaching.
"We are not so anxious," said the professor at the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) Cottbus-Senftenberg, Peer Schmidt, the German Press Agency. He is Vice President for Studies and Teaching. However, the BTU is also still in the "experimental phase" when it comes to dealing with ChatGPT, for example. When asked, the University of Potsdam said: "The impact of ChatGPT and similar programs on teaching has been on the agenda since last year." The possible uses of ChatGPT should be seen as an opportunity, it said.
But how great is the danger that students will use AI for cheating, cheating on exams and having ChatGPT write term papers? "Unfortunately, attempts at deception have been the order of the day since cheat sheets, ghostwriters and the like, and the temptation is not diminished by AI," said the University of Potsdam. However, the new options should not be pilloried, but an attempt will be made to incorporate them into teaching in such a way that students learn to use them sensibly.
"Over the past few months, it has become clear that the original concern about increasing fraud due to the unfair use of ChatGPT has not materialized," said the University of Potsdam. The Cottbus BTU Vice President Schmidt said about possible deception attempts: "We have not yet received any feedback, but I do not want to rule it out."
Science Minister Schüle told the German Press Agency that presumably all universities in the world are currently intensively discussing the extent to which students should be allowed to use AI tools. "Most experts say that a general ban on the use of AI tools in higher education is neither realistic nor didactically sensible - I share this assessment."
Schüle has already tried out the text robot ChatGPT himself. She was particularly impressed by the linguistic quality. The program is "super fast and never gets tired". A decisive disadvantage is that ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence and cannot think and feel like a human. "Sometimes it just claims nonsense. This is a new experience: that a program claims absolutely convincingly that it reflects exact facts, but on which one cannot blindly rely. It challenges our human judgment in a whole new way."
At universities, it is to be feared that students will have their term papers written by AI tools in the future and that there will be little personal contribution, said the minister. "So far, no one has a panacea on how to deal with it constructively." But in the past, universities have repeatedly been faced with the challenge of adapting their teaching and, of course, their examination procedures to new social requirements and technological upheavals.
"I can't easily tell from a text whether it's written by an AI or by a human. Of course, this poses challenges for universities - for classic term papers as well as for dissertations." It is important to prevent the unreflected use of AI tools, which poses a major risk to higher education.
Artificial intelligence is increasingly the subject of their own courses of study at many universities. The University of Potsdam, Brandenburg's largest university, is broadly positioned in AI research. Among other things, experts will also deal with the use of AI in school lessons. The BTU in Cottbus created the "Digital Society" course of study for the past winter semester. In addition, there are new courses of study in the mathematical and technical fields that deal with AI. Dpa