September 2023

11 10 What Teens Really Think About Using AI Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a relatively new tool to the general public that has more and more people turning to AI for questions, concerns, and everyday tasks. In terms of school, AI can be a taboo and stress-inducing topic. Not only can using AI result in a failing grade, but it can also give the student a bad reputation. Charlie, a junior at a public high school in the Midwest, gives her insight on the use of AI, “I've used AI only for generating titles for essays or speeches. I've definitely thought about using it for essays, but if I'm completely honest, I'm nervous about using it for school-related things just because I don't want to have that reputation of being that person who slacked on everything and get better grades than people who actually put in the honest effort”. Charlie isn't the only student I interviewed who is nervous about using AI. Sari, a sophomore says, “I am just too scared of the potential consequences there could be.” Many students disapprove of using AI to write a paper. All the students I interviewed agreed that using AI to write a paper is cheating. “I think that essay writing is an important life skill,” said Sage, a senior. “It's cheating because it is presenting something that isn't your work as your work”. AI not only fabricates student-written prompts but does so in ways that invite criticisms. “I would never let AI write a paper because AI’s writing is emotionless and boring”, Henry, a junior, said. Although many students were nervous about the consequences of AI, there are some who use it. “It can give me inspiration when I'm experiencing some brain fog or simple burnout and is helpful for producing literary responses without having to search the stretches of the internet,” Meyers said. Gabe , a junior at different public high school had another opinion. He said, “I have used AI in my schoolwork. When I took French and couldn't understand an assignment, or if I had a hard time with certain conjugations.” He noted, “Why do the work yourself when you can have a computer do it perfectly for you?”. Everyone interviewed said their teachers are against any usage of AI. “In almost every introduction lesson my teachers had during the first week of school this year, there was a cut-to-the-chase segment about no AI use whatsoever,” Meyers said. Some teachers make it harder for students to do their own work because the teacher is scrutinizing everything. “Since AI has become more popular, teachers are more suspicious and there are more rules you must follow while writing essays,” said Henry. In the end, the hidden potential for greatness and flaws has not yet been discovered. So, for now, the students I surveyed seem to be exclusively using AI for ideas. Right now, all the students I interviewed are too scared to actually use it to write papers. I think one student’s comment speaks for all the different concerns brought up and something every student thinking of using AI should seriously think about. He said, “It is an easy way to avoid doing difficult and time-consuming work. It can become a crutch that eventually holds you back when it isn’t available and you to actually use your brain.” By Riley Zimmerman, Grade 11, Clayton High School, St. Louis Some students say that they cannot function without ChatGPT, yet as a student, I choose not to use it. Sure, with over 100 million users (as of 2023), it is evident that many people hold it in high regard, yet I do not see the appeal of using this tool. Despite my lack of interest, there are indeed many valid uses of ChatGPT. For instance, some of my teachers make great use of this tool: they may use it to come up with ideas for activities in certain classes or make a lesson plan with just a simple command. Using ChatGPT to complete mundane tasks may be great for teachers because they can then spend time on other useful things. However, students probably use this tool as a simple shortcut to quickly finish a piece of work assigned to them because artificial intelligence can write basic essays with relevant quotes or solve certain maths problems with an effortless click of a mouse. But it doesn’t satisfy my needs. I am not a busy teacher struggling to find the time to create the most compelling lessons, nor am I a student struggling enough to need help from AI. I am also skeptical of its accuracy. For instance, it has been shown to give incorrect mathematical conclusions. It is also well known that it creates convincing but non-existent quotes on its own. Furthermore, I believe that any written work done by ChatGPT won’t be as good as that done by a capable student: AI is not familiar with the nuances of essay structures and often lacks the insight necessary to obtain a top grade. Above all, the use of ChatGPT inhibits learning: many do not seek to alter the machine’s work or digest or understand the relevant topics. Like me, students who strive to attain the highest marks possible in all their exams, likely will not use this tool after realizing that it is far more effective to do their work and learn to use their time well than rely on ChatGPT. by David Li, Year 12, King’s College, Auckland Why ChatGPT Doesn’t Interest Me