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Higher education and the AI conundrum


Artificial intelligence (AI) is disrupting Management Education in 2023 via tools like chat APIs and GPTs. At the forefront of this phenomenon is ChatGPT, now in its fourth iteration, a program that has become an internet sensation, reaching one million users in its first week of existence, and prompting a lot of media and user interest since its unveiling on 30 November 2022. Given the tremendous success of ChatGPT and other AI tools developed throughout 2023 we, as educators, find ourselves at an important juncture, one that prompts a contemplation of both challenges and opportunities. Therefore, the query that looms large is whether we ought to wholeheartedly embrace or cautiously resist the influence they wield.

This article, forthcoming in Management Learning, reviews the benefits and potential drawbacks of ChatGPT (and AI, more generally) vis-à-vis higher education. Thus, while AI can improve prospects in many areas (i.e., remote learning, asynchronous communication, online collaboration, gamification, student engagement, and assessments) that results in a better democratization and inclusion of our education, it also poses significant challenges, particularly in relation to academic integrity, traditional forms of assessment (that is, "open book", non-invigilated, essays), exacerbating existing inequalities, or replacing human educators with virtual, AI ones. Subsequently, both individual educators and institutional managers need to decide on if and how they can respond to these challenges. Yet, to this point, such responses have been less clear and decisive, leaving ample room for interpretation and application in the classroom.

With more and better AI tools continuously emerging (for example, Microsoft’s Copilot; Google’s Bard and Gemini; Anthropic’s Claude 2, etc.) there is increasing pressure on both educators and institutions to deal with this disruption in a constructive, and productive manner, which would involve however, a stark departure from our “business as usual” scenarios. Furthermore, if anything, history (through examples of technologies - for example, hand-held calculators or the internet - or other disruptive shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic) suggests that we should embrace change rather than fight it. The rise of AIs presents significant pedagogical opportunities to democratize, enlighten, and personalize education, all for better meeting the needs of our students. A positive and coordinated pedagogical approach to these disruptive technologies can provide important opportunities to include AI tools in our classrooms and further enrich our education. Nevertheless, resources need to be invested, coherent strategies need to be developed, and new educational ecosystems should embed rather than ban AIs in a brave, new educational ecosystem.

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