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Illinois Business Professor Creates AI Double to Teach Class

A business professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign had ChatGPT write a script for his course, used text-to-speech AI to replicate his voice reading the script and a digital avatar speaking it.

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(TNS) — For all the talk about artificial intelligence "taking our jobs," Robert Brunner doesn't seem worried: He's going to have an AI version of himself teaching some classes next semester.

Brunner is the Gies College of Business's associate dean for innovation and chief disruption officer, so trying unique things with new technology is par for the course with him.

He told the business school's news site, Poets & Quants, that the idea came up because he was too busy with teaching to make an online version of one of his courses.

Brunner had ChatGPT write a script for the course, then used text-to-speech AI to replicate his voice reading the script.

A realistic video "avatar" version of him appears to be speaking.

He'll be open with the students: the introductory video for the course explains that portions of the teaching will be provided by this avatar.

Brunner said that this sped up the process of recording the course and made it easier to correct errors and will make it possible to translate the course into languages he doesn't speak.

In reality, Brunner told P&Q that he has no expectation of AI replacing anyone, but he does think faculty should "play with" the technology and use it to their advantage.

"If you start falling behind, you will fall further and further behind," he said. "It's going to be a fun, interesting ride. You need to get ready and buckle up."

©2023 The News-Gazette (Champaign, Ill.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.