No consensus among local experts on future effects of artificial intelligence

No consensus among local experts on future effects of artificial intelligence

By William Crooks

Local Journalism Initiative


Editor’s Note: This article is a continuation of a series of reports on local experts’ views on artificial intelligence (AI) and builds on a conversation with Bishop’s computer science professor Dr. Stefan Bruda. Bruda explained AI technology mechanically produces the same results as rational agents (human beings). He thinks AI is a tool that will change some professions for the better, but not replace them (in the short term).


The future of AI and what effects it will have on human endeavours is a complex issue, and those knowledgeable in the area can disagree. The Record spoke with Reena Atanasiadis, Dean of Bishop’s Williams School of Business, for her own perspective on the issue, which had some points of departure from that of Bruda.

“My analogy goes back to the calculator,” Atanasiadis began; we used to (and still do) teach long division and accept that if a student could show they understood their work, we would let them use their calculator. This is because, she explained, the real benefit of learning long division, for instance, is the attained solution, its results, and its consequential impact on society. Our attitude towards AI should be the same, she insisted.

“ChatGPT cannot be banned,” she noted, pivoting to a discussion of one of the newest, most popular AI programs freely available for public use. It is used twice as much by those under 40 years of age than those above, she added. “We know that this is something that is not going away.” AI should be accepted as the tool it is, like a calculator, and not seen as a shortcut or cheating method, she reiterated. Students do not have the ability to properly prompt AI to get quality responses, she elaborated, or the patience to persistently keep asking good questions to refine its results.

The main worry, she thinks, about AI’s potential negative effect on education, has to do with its speed. ChatGPT gives almost instantaneous answers. But, she admits, its responses can have an appearance of quality that anyone knowledgeable about the area it’s responding about can see are superficial.

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