Advances in AI promise many opportunities for people to use them to understand the world, advance science, and increase productivity. Many of the things that impress us about Generative AI are connected to the ways in which it appears to communicate in very human ways. However, those same qualities are the ones that raise new challenges and ethical questions. As you learn to leverage the power of AI, it is important to remember a few key points:

  1. AI's are not independently intelligent. AI can be used to help with tasks that humans define, but it is up to the human to assess reality, purpose, ethics, applications, and accuracy. While generated content may sound authoritative, AIs are known to "hallucinate" or make up content that looks convincing but may not describe real research or actual facts. If you are using AI, it is up to you to ensure that the content it returns is useful, truthful, ethical, and accurate.
  2. Do not use citations generated by AI since they are often false. AI generation of citations that appear to be real but do not identify real articles is a known issue with AI. Unless you have personally checked a citation, there is not a good way to know if it is real, accurate, and supports your argument.
  3. AI Generation of content is not a substitute for learning or original thought. There are many legitimate ways to use AI generated content, and some of them can be quite helpful. Depending on the assignment and the learning objectives desired by your instructor, some use of AI may be permissible or even encouraged, such as using it to check grammar, analyze data, or even generate ideas and create outlines. Be sure to check with your instructor about what uses of AI are permitted before using it for an assignment.
  4. Do not represent AI generated content as original work. While some assignments may permit you to use AI to extend your creative capacity, it is not a substitute for creative thought, especially in an educational context. For any AI generated content, make sure that you provide citations so that an instructor or reviewer can see where that content came from. UNM's Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education lib guide provides guidance on how to cite AI in APA, MLA, and Chicago style guides.

Where can I start learning about how to use AI?

The Lib Guide mentioned above is a great place to start, and there are also some nice overview videos posted online. Perhaps most importantly, you have to spend some time playing with it to really learn what it is good at. We have included some particularly nice overview resources that were created by faculty at Wharton on our Training and Workshops page, including this introduction for students:

What do I do if I'm accused of AI cheating?

There are tools that help instructors identify content that is generated by AI, but this is a rapidly evolving technology, and those tools can be imperfect. The best way to avoid accusations of AI cheating is to familiarize yourself with your instructor's expectations regarding the use of AI and to be proactive in following them. In the event that your instructor has questions about your use of AI, the following advice adapted from an article in the Washington Post may be helpful:

  • Have an open and polite conversation with your professor to explain your situation. Avoid becoming defensive or confrontational.
  • Be prepared to provide evidence that you completed the work yourself, such as drafts, notes, screenshots of your writing process, etc.
  • Familiarize yourself with UNM's academic integrity policies and appeal process in case you need to file a formal complaint.
  • If accused, politely request clarity on the evidence and grounds for accusation.
  • Get support from UNM resources like your academic advisor, or the Dean of Students office. You don't have to handle this alone.
  • Remember that AI detectors are imperfect tools that can generate false positives. Calmly present information on their limitations if needed.
  • Focus discussions on your own learning process and growth rather than just grades. Demonstrate you understand the material.
  • If you did use AI improperly, take responsibility and reflect on how to improve your academic integrity going forward.

The key is to advocate for yourself while also maintaining an educational perspective. With the right evidence and support, false accusations can be overcome and/or any improper citation of AI can become a meaningful learning experience.