KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With artificial intelligence systems increasing in popularity, a big question that still lingers is how these technological advances will impact the education system and society.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is described as software that can perform tasks that traditionally have been thought to require human intelligence.

Lynne Parker, the Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of the AI Tennessee Initiative at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, explained AI is popping up more in everyday headlines because there’s more access to information than ever before and these systems can be more widely used by the public.

Parker said with systems like ChatGPT as an example, it can go out into the cyber universe and produce text that can answer almost any question or prompt.

“ChatGPT is a massive AI software that has been trained by people using data that’s available all across the world, so internet data, data that’s from books, papers,” Parker said of ChatGPT which was created by OpenAI.

She spoke about how AI is challenging the entire education system, including the professors at UT Knoxville, to reexamine how they look at assignments moving forward while still trying to reach their learning objectives.

“We’re having to rethink how we assess learning, how we achieve the kind of learning objectives that we want so that it cannot cause students to want to go use these tools and present that as their own materials,” said Parker. “Instead, perhaps they can use these tools as a starting point or critique text that has been generated.”

When asked if there is any software that could detect whether a student’s work was produced using AI, Parker noted there is one created by the same company behind ChatGPT. However, she shares it is not 100% accurate.

Parker also shared she feels there will need to be a new level of transparency across society, stating anyone using an AI tool needs to disclose it.

“Anyone who uses a tool like this for anything, it could be to generate a work of art, or a poem, or an essay, or a paper, they should declare that.”

Parker took an art competition for example and said there may need to be new categories; a ‘purely human created’ category and an ‘AI assisted’ category. She also shared that publishers in the research world are allowing people to use AI, not to write an entire paper, but maybe parts of a paper as long as researchers disclose that information accordingly.

Parker described herself as an AI optimist, saying while changes may be ahead, early studies are showing AI can help productivity.

“Early evidence is showing that people who are really good at generating ideas but who struggle to get those ideas down on paper are helped a lot by these kinds of tools because they can help get you started,” Parker shared.