The second-largest teacher’s union in the U.S. has partnered with ato do their homework.
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) recently signed a deal with GPTZero, an AI identification platform that makes tools that can identify ChatGPT and other AI-generated content, to help educators rein in, or at least keep tabs on students’ reliance on the new tech.
“ChatGPT can be a really important supplement and complement to educators if the guardrails are in place,” AFT president Randi Weingarten told CBS MoneyWatch. “And the guardrails have to be about privacy and security and things like that.”
Working with AI, not against it
There is, without a doubt, a place for AI in the classroom, according to Weingarten.
“We believe in its potential and we know if we don’t guard against its perils upfront, we’re going to repeat the terrible transitions that happened with the industrial revolution,” she said.
Products like those provided by GPTZero will help educators work with and not against generative AI, to the benefit of both students and teachers, in Weingarten’s view. “You can’t stop technology and innovation. You need to ride it and harness it and that’s what we are talking to our members about,” she said.
GPTZero, a 15-person company co-founded by recent Princeton graduate Edward Tian, has developed tools for people in the front and back of classrooms.
“We’re committed together to figuring out the applications of AI in classrooms, and building GPTZero to be the best pedagogical solution for teachers and students to collaborate together in adopting AI,” Tian told CBS MoneyWatch.
Free versions of GPTZero products are available. The teacher’s union is paying for access to more tailored AI detection and certification tools and assistance.
Using AI responsibly
Developed in January to scan text for AI input, GPTZero has since launched new tools, including one that allows students to certify their content as human, and to openly disclose when they use AI.
“A big goal of ours is to demonstrate that the use of AI in education does not have to be adversarial,” Tian said. “In January when everything was starting, there was the mentality that it was taking the plagiarism model of copying and pasting content, which is not the right framework here.”
Ultimately, said Tian, he wants to help teachers and students work together to make the most of cutting-edge AI technologies while mitigating their potential to do harm. “We are working with teachers to figure out where AI fits into education. We want to empower students to use AI responsibly,” Tian said.
Weingarten sees upsides to AI for teachers, too. For one, she said educators aren’t Luddites and are already adept at using tech tools in classrooms.
“It can hugely reduce paperwork burdens, bureaucratic burdens, and it can help with the writing of lesson plans,” she said of AI technology. “I think there is huge potential here, but we have to be sober about it. We cannot pretend that it is a panacea, but have to hope and push for the kind of ethical regulations that are necessary so that it doesn’t destroy.”