Should ChatGPT be banned in schools?

UP crafts ‘responsible’ AI use guidelines

MANILA, Philippines — The University of the Philippines has laid down a set of principles on the “responsible” use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in an academic setting, becoming among the first major Philippine universities to work towards a policy governing AI use in classrooms.

This follows the spike in the availability of AI-powered chatbots this year, such as ChatGPT, which has stoked worries among educators about widespread cheating and its potential to undermine the learning process.

The use of AI in classrooms currently lacks official guidance from government agencies such as the Department of Education or the Commission on Higher Education. While AI-related measures have been filed in the House and the Senate, these initiatives primarily focus on maximizing the economic benefits of AI rather than addressing its impact on education.

UP cited 10 principles to promote the “responsible” use of AI, none of which reference an outright ban on student use of AI-powered technologies.

‘Meaningful human control’ and ‘transparency’

In its statement, UP said that AI challenges can range from “systemic bias, inequality for marginalized groups of students, privacy and bias in data collection and processing.”

“Already, many are worried that ChatGPT opens the door to cheating and plagiarism,” the university added.

“It is therefore imperative for the national university, to promote the positive use and mitigate the negatives of AI,” UP said.

UP cited the need for AI to be primarily for the “public good.”

AI “should benefit the Filipino people by fostering inclusive economic growth, sustainable development, political empowerment and enhanced well-being,” the university said.

Among the other principles it listed is the need for “meaningful human control,” saying that AI should be used to “advance human autonomy and agency.”

“Humans should ultimately remain in control of, and thus, morally responsible for, the behavior of AI systems,” the statement read.

UP also cited the need for “transparency” in the use of AI, saying that individuals should be notified when AI-enabled tools are used.

“The methods should be explainable, to the extent possible, and individuals should be able to understand AI-based outcomes, ways to challenge them, and meaningful remedies to address any harms caused,” UP added.

UP’s other principles for responsible AI use include inclusive development,  fairness, safety, environmental friendliness, fostering collaboration, accountability, and upholding privacy through informed decision-making and multi-stakeholder governance.

Need for policy just the tip of the iceberg

All universities should work toward crafting their “AI positions” but would have to ensure these are backed by adequate consultation first, said Dominic Ligot, founder and chief technology officer of social impact technology company CirroLytix.

“Banning chatGPT and AI in schools is certainly their prerogative, but the compounded impact on their students is mindblowing if they do this,” Ligot said.

“Basically you will be producing AI-impaired or AI-stunted graduates,” he added.

Ligot pressed upon the need for schools to explore the use of AI tools for teaching as they will soon have to address the needs of an “AI-enabled society,” Ligot said.

“Regarding the use of AI on cheating and plagiarism, I would also look at the current inherently dated and backward education systems we have, and assess how and why AI has disrupted it,” he added. “Looking at AI as a foe is only one side, but can schools like UP look itself in the mirror and say they are adequate to the current needs of an AI-enabled society?” he added.

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ArtIQulate is a publication associated with the Adenauer Fellowship, a scholarship programme by the Media Programme Asia, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Ltd.
About the author

Cristina Chi

Chi is a multimedia reporter for Philstar.com, one of the Philippines' leading digital news organisations. Chi primarily covers education, the Office of the Vice President, the House of Representatives, and human rights. She specialises in reporting on inequality in education and the broader social justice issues it cuts across through data-driven storytelling. A finalist for the Best Thesis award in the University of the Philippines journalism department in 2023, Chi's undergraduate thesis explored data journalism techniques in education reporting.

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