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University of Kentucky Forms Committee to Address AI

The university is bringing together experts in computer science, bioinformatics, pharmacy, medicine, philosophy, communication and other disciplines to make recommendations on the use of AI-driven ed-tech tools.

University of Kentucky building.
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky has established a committee to make recommendations on the use of artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT amid concerns about how the technology could be misused for plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

According to a news release, the UK ADVANCE Committee is led by Provost Robert DiPaola and made up of representatives from a range of disciplines and administrative backgrounds, including computer science, bioinformatics, pharmacy, medicine, philosophy, communication, writing and digital communication, research, law and information technology, and teaching and learning. The announcement said the committee plans to meet regularly to review recent advances in AI and academic literature about the use of tools such as ChatGPT to provide further guidance and recommendations.

“Artificial intelligence has the power to make our work together more efficient and even transformative,” DiPaola said in a public statement. “At the same time, it has tremendous potential, if used wrongly or unethically, to cause great harm.”

DiPaola told Government Technology in an email that the committee aims to encourage the responsible use of ChatGPT and other AI tools as the technology becomes more ubiquitous in higher education.

“The primary purpose of the ADVANCE team is to review carefully emerging data about AI and to incorporate it thoughtfully into our education, research and health care enterprise,” he wrote. “To do so, we hope to develop recommendations for how our people can use AI responsibly and guide them as they approach these tools with caution and curiosity.”

DiPaola noted the importance of bringing together experts from across fields, as well as faculty and administrators, to examine and make recommendations on the use of AI, which can be used for personalized learning, automated feedback and AI-driven tutoring systems. Among other plans, the committee aims to spur research about AI and develop a training toolkit for faculty regarding applications of AI in the classroom.

“At UK, we believe in the value of transdisciplinary approaches to solving the world’s problems. We gather people with disciplines and from various fields to ask questions and confront challenges early, so we can realize the most advanced, innovative solutions,” he wrote. “The only way to understand AI and recognize its potential in higher education is to collaborate as one institution.”

The announcement noted that AI has the potential to expand personalized learning, which has been a major goal for higher ed institutions in recent years amid the digitization of education and the adoption of a plethora of ed-tech tools in the growing digital learning market. At the same time, it noted, educators are still worried about how tools like ChatGPT could present data privacy concerns and be used for plagiarism.

“The recent developments in AI resonate in different ways across our educational, research, service and health care missions. For education, we are looking at how we can best prepare students for success in careers that will, in a variety of ways, make use of this rapidly evolving technology,” DiPaola wrote. “What is important for that goal is helping students to become informed and critical users who understand the affordances, constraints and ethical implications of these platforms. This can be challenging due to the rapid evolution of this technology, and it challenges us to reimagine our fields of study — and what it means to learn — with respect to the capabilities of generative AI.”
Brandon Paykamian is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and years of experience as a multimedia reporter, mainly focusing on public education and higher ed.