AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Artificial intelligence, or AI, you hear it all the time now, is a very hot topic. And it is not going away.

AI is a machine’s ability to perform the cognitive functions we associate with human minds, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting. So what are its implications in the media, in the job market, and in education?

Leaders at Augusta University are addressing that right now. Two people in particular have helped mold how it should be used in education, at least at Augusta University.

Candis Bond and James Garner, from the Center for Writing Excellence, have conducted instruction for faculty, and they’re here with me now to share pertinent information to keep us aware of what’s happening with this emerging field.

Many of us have questions about AI, and can’t help wonder if the robots are really taking over. Think Terminator!

“Well, for those of you who don’t know or maybe haven’t been following the development of artificial intelligence technology, generative AI software, it works as a large language model, which means that, basically, big datasets of preexisting information are entered into programs like ChatGPT. And then the software works by making predictions about how people talk or what will come next, based on analysis of those datasets. So it sounds human-like.”

“It’s not scary if it’s used responsibly and ethically. And I know, you know, at Augusta University and in the Center for Writing Excellence where we work, we’ve been focusing a lot on ethics, you know, like, not necessarily that AI is good or bad in and of itself, but there are good and bad uses of it and times when it’s better to use it versus others. So, for us in higher education, you know, we want people to learn. That’s why the students go to college. So we’ve been thinking of it more from the lens of will this facilitate learning if we introduce it at a certain point, or will it inhibit learning?”

They say is similar to giving young students a calculator. It might actually keep them from learning things they need to know. But once they’ve mastered those skills, then calculators can be really helpful.

“So I think AI is similar in that we want students to learn skills that they need for their careers and for learning before we maybe introduce technology that will speed that up. But if they have learned certain things, then I think there’s potential to streamline other, you know, skills or things that they’re doing through AI technology.”

As for Chat GPT, think of it like a hyper Google search.

“It’s like a super-powered Google search, it can be. So you can get a quick overview and a pretty robust overview of a topic. You have to be careful because sometimes the information that it gives you may not be 100% accurate, may be biased in some ways, depending on the dataset that it was trained on.”

For more of the discussion, and instructions about ChatGPT, watch the video clip above.