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AI in Schools: Tools or Treachery?

Is AI Really a Dream Come True or Has it Been Turning Into a Nightmare?
AI in Schools:  Tools or Treachery?

Technology that holds all the answers, and all it takes is the press of one button. That is what people dreamt of 50 years ago and today we live in that dream. However, this dream is turning out to be more of a nightmare with too much power. This new technology is AI and its creation was meant to do good; however, many have started to realize the harm it has been inflicting in school.

AI is a technology that can perform all human tasks. Things like GPS and sensors are examples of Artificial Intelligence. Additionally, things like Chat GPT and OpenAI are also AI where you can write any prompt and it will generate a response. This ability has made it very popular especially in schools where students will use it for some good things and more harmful. One of the ways AI has been affecting schools is through its ability to make sexually explicit images.

What does AI have to do with sexually explicit images? Ever since AI was created  it hasn’t been used for what it should be. There have been many cases of AI being used to create naked images of mainly children and teenage girls. Recently Taylor Swift was a victim of this harassment. Sadly it isn’t only celebrities who are going through this awful experience. While sextortion is not new, it has been rising recently.  Often times boys between 14-17 create images of their fellow peers. It was reported in 2021 that the Nation Center for Missing and Exploited Children had received 10,000 reports relating to sextortion.

Francesca Mani, a 14-year-old girl attending Westfield Public Schools in New Jersey was a victim of this. Francesca became aware of these images along with other girls and reported; however, they spoke out on how little action was taken by schools to address this issue. While the issue has now been opened by the police, it cannot take back the trauma of what happened. Boys across the country can make realistic naked pictures of girls using AI. Not only that, but they are sharing them like crazy through social media and school. These images have been used to harass, hurt, and bully women not only physically but mentally. Additionally, these images have an impact on their futures. The photos can ruin young girls’ future reputations, college and career lives. Many schools, however, have not been reporting these incidents. In Issaquah High School, an assistant principal was questioned by police as to why they had not reported this to the police. The police were met with a response, “What was she supposed to report?” Police all over are saying that schools by law must report any sexual abuse and sexual abuse material.

So what are the consequences of this? Because of how new this has become, schools and districts are having trouble confronting this; however, schools like Beverly Vista Middle School expelled 5 students after using AI to create images of female peers. Superintendent Michael Bregy spoke on how such extreme bullying shall not stand for and encouraged other schools to take the same consequences. Many like Francesca and her mother Dorota Mani say the best way to combat this is to fix the AI school policy. States like Texas, Minnesota, and New York passed laws that make non-consensual deepfake porn a crime while states like Virginia, Georgia, and Hawaii already had some laws. Other states are allowing victims to sue and for perpetrators to have jail time and a fine. More states have also now banned deep fake porn. While not all states have created laws, it sure seems like AI deep fake images will soon be banned. Additionally, President Biden made an executive order this past October that made it so AI-generated content must be labeled and watermarked and the use of AI to create child sexual material as well as nonconsensual images is criminal.

Students have also been using AI for other things. AI has opened a new way to cheat students in school. Students have used AI to write essays or to get test answers, but is AI really to blame for cheating? While many students use AI as a quick solution for doing schoolwork, would cheating still happen without AI? Stanford educators Victor Lee and Denise Pope explained how getting rid of AI would not stop cheating. Cheating has always happened way before AI was created. AI is just another tool to cheat just like looking at someone’s paper or having a friend or parent do a project or essay. Data from anonymous surveys has also proven that the amount of students who are cheating has not changed over the years. However, both educators say more students than usual may start cheating as they get comfortable with AI and its ability. Though, it would not be common for a student who usually never cheats to start cheating because of AI, so many educators can rest assured that AI is not increasing cheating.

So what is the difference between using AI to cheat vs to help? Many students when asked said that using AI to write an entire essay is cheating, but using AI to start an essay or to give ideas is not. As mentioned before AI is just a replacement for other ways students get help. Getting a parent or tutor to help with classwork is not considered cheating, so is using AI to help be considered cheating? As AI has become more common, more people have agreed that AI can be used to help, but cannot be used to do an entire essay.  The main problem is detecting whether students used AI to help them or do their entire project.

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About the Contributor
Abeera Bhullar
Abeera Bhullar, Staff Writer
Abeera Bhullar is a freshman and is in her first year of journalism. She was born in Brooklyn NY and loves the city. In her spare time, she likes to sleep and play badminton.