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Use of Artificial Intelligence in English, Music, Theater, Litreature, and Communication Coursework

The fundamental purpose of education is to train people to think. Anything that interferes with that must be resisted. Anything that supports that must be encouraged. A large language model (LLM) itself does neither. It can be used to do either. It is a tool that can be used or abused. It’s essential to understand the limitations as well as the proper and improper use of AI software.

Limitations of AI

AI programs are so far nothing more than language-predicting software. They string words together in ways based upon established patterns. Algorithms predict the word most likely to follow the previous word or string of words, just as if I say to you, “It’s late. I think you should . . .” and pause: you will supply words that fit the empty space. They do not choose words based upon a meaning they intend to convey. They are incapable of intention. 

Lacking consciousness (lacking, therefore, “intelligence,” despite the name), they often get things wrong. They “lie” with confidence, and therefore may fool users into thinking they have made true or defensible statements when they have not. For example, if asked to provide sources on a piece of literature, an AI may produce a list of “potential” sources that do not exist. They may invent quotations or attribute them falsely. AI programs cannot weave together citations from particular sources to support a thesis.

AI programs have a hard time with succinctness, the sort you want on an essay question on an online test. AI programs use a lot of words to make simple observations; they beats around the bush. When given a word count (“answer in 50 words”), AI produces answers that are vague to the point of vacuousness. 

Uses for AI

AI is however not useless. An AI program can serve as a tool for discovering topics or developing ideas. Writers should feel free to run questions through AI, but they should not copy and paste responses from an AI program unless the teacher explicitly allows this for the fulfillment of an assignment. Copying and pasting from AI is plagiarism.

AI can assist students to brainstorm topics, contemplate structure, and develop ideas. 

Everything an AI produces must be checked for accuracy. The student is forewarned to reject anything the AI offers that cannot be verified in authoritative sources.

This document will be updated frequently as more NHTI disciplines adopt these guidelines and as these technologies evolve. Students are encouraged to revisit this document often. 
Edited: 8/18/23
Created on: 8/15/23