D66 is very concerned about the current developments in the field of artificial intelligence and the way ChatGPT is used. The party is afraid that these technological means affect the quality of education. In addition, the faction questions its ethical use.
This is evident from written questions from Hind Dekker-Abdulaziz and Paul van Meenen (both D66). The questions are addressed to State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (Digitisation) and Ministers Karin van Gennip (Social Affairs and Employment), Dennis Wiersma (Primary and Secondary Education), Robbert Dijkgraaf (Education, Culture and Science) and Micky Adriaansen (Economic Affairs and Climate ).
Developing malware with artificial intelligence
Over the past few weeks, experts have expressed concerns about artificial intelligence, particularly the chatbot ChatGPT. Cybersecurity firm Check Point warned that hackers want to develop malware through artificial intelligence.
“Russian hackers are already discussing and monitoring how to get past geofencing to use ChatGPT for their malicious purposes. We believe these hackers are most likely trying to implement and test ChatGPT in their daily criminal operations. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly interested in ChatGPT because its AI technology can make a hacker more cost-efficient,” said Check Point.
OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, also sees the dangers of artificial technology and applications such as ChatGPT. In analysing language models, this technology can, at least, be misused to create campaigns that spread fake news and disinformation. “Creating tools can use language models to generate messages that are more persuasive and impactful, especially when writers lack the linguistic or cultural knowledge of their target audience,” warn OpenAI researchers.
Students do homework with ChatGPT.
We already see examples close to home where artificial intelligence is being abused. Media reported last week that students use the text generator ChatGPT to do their homework assignments. They download this tool, enter an assignment – for example: write a 500-word essay on the pros and cons of artificial intelligence – and ChatGPT produces a text. The program also removes spelling and writing errors from their texts.
Teachers are powerless against ChatGPT: the program creates its own texts. Existing software to detect plagiarism cannot do anything about this. Teachers are asking for a national solution. Some schools take measures to prevent abuse. Among other things, they let students work on their writing assignments at school. Or they demand that the students only use recent sources. ChatGPT only knows heads up to and including 2021.
Opportunities and threats for education
D66 is concerned about such developments. Dekker-Abdulaziz and Van Meenen have therefore drawn up a series of written questions for the cabinet. They ask the team of ministers what they think about recent developments regarding artificial intelligence and the use of ChatGPT by students.
“What tools do teachers and schools have to deal with artificial intelligence? How do we prevent negative effects on the quality of education? And what steps will you take to avoid negative effects and support schools? They also want to know whether the government sees positive opportunities in using artificial intelligence in education.
Business and artificial intelligence
Dekker-Abdulaziz and Van Meenen also inform about the opportunities and threats the cabinet sees for companies in the field of artificial intelligence. “Is the current commitment still in supporting companies in using artificial intelligence for innovation, sustainability and their production processes?” they wonder. The State Secretary and ministers must also explain the opportunities and threats they see for using artificial intelligence and applications such as ChatGPT for the labour market.
Finally, the MPs have reservations about the sustainability of the government’s Strategic Action Plan for Artificial Intelligence, and they believe that recent developments are reasons to revise the action plan. The Democrats ask whether the ministers can answer the questions before January 25: that is when the Committee debate on Artificial Intelligence takes place.
Update (January 20, 2023): in addition to D66, the VVD has also asked written questions to the cabinet. Queeny Rajkowski and Zohair El Yassini (both VVD) believe that artificial intelligence profoundly affects education. They want to know from the ministers and state secretaries what opportunities and risks they see for schools and how educational institutions are adapting to the rapid developments in the field of artificial intelligence.
The MPs also ask whether the government has sufficient knowledge about artificial intelligence to support schools. Finally, the VVD members want to know whether the ministers are prepared to talk to the Dutch AI coalition to discuss the opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence for education.
Update (March 14, 2023): Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Micky Adriaansens points out that technological developments such as artificial intelligence and ChatGPT offer educational opportunities. This makes it possible to motivate pupils and students, tailor education to their needs better, and support teachers. “For example, the calculator and computers also had a lot of consequences, but they are now widely used in the classroom,” said the minister.
The minister acknowledges that there is also a downside to AI. For example, applications such as ChatGPT can be used by fraudulent students to have homework assignments made. Artificial intelligence can also lead to biases, which unfairly disadvantage pupils and students. It is up to educational institutions to deal with this.
Just like in the world of education, AI offers opportunities and threats to the labour market. People are conceivable to be discriminated against or excluded when recruiting and selecting new staff. It is also conceivable that jobs will disappear because artificial intelligence can handle tasks faster and more efficiently. At the same time, new jobs are created. It is, therefore, essential to focus on improving digital skills and educating or training ICT personnel.