Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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AI: The Beginning or the End?

Using a AI image software called Midjourney and a photo taken in Krysko Courtyard, the final image seen above is changed into a AI version using the prompt ‘spiral’ to alter the image.

Artificial intelligence (AI) started to aid through technology like Siri and Alexa; now, it’s banned on our syllabi. AI technology is the creation of code that is in a machine to make it intelligent and thereby be able to complete tasks and commands as a human could.

The first piece of AI technology was the calculator, founded in 1951 by Marvin Minsky and Dean Edmunds. Since then, AI has evolved into devices and tools people use in everyday life. The use of AI has expanded into much more than the calculator. With today’s innovations, AI can do anything from playing a game of chess to being a robotic surgeon.

Fourth-year student Madisen Palmerton uses different forms of AI almost every day. She finds AI as a useful tool if used wisely.

“[AI programs I use are] Spotify DJ, Chat GPT, and chatbots on online websites. It has made it easier to come up with ideas for papers and projects,” Palmerton said. “It’s a useful starting point for many of my projects.”

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Many schools have taken into consideration how AI will affect students’ education, and some educators fear the worst. Teachers are catching students copying information given to them via ChatGPT on essays and homework and now in some Winona State Syllabi it is specifically banned and considered plagiarism.

“People who don’t use it as a tool and as a means to cheat on homework and tests will not be able to critically think in the future,” Palmerton said. “I worry that today’s kids won’t be able to think for themselves. AI is not necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be used in moderation.”

Popular AI technology called ChatGPT is a chatbot that will respond to prompts and tasks submitted by the user. ChatGPT was founded by Open AI (an artificial intelligence research company) in 2015 and was initially released to the public on Nov. 30, 2022. With many well-known figures like Elon Musk and Sam Altman working on the project, Open AI generated a lot of attention on ChatGPT, especially after Microsoft started investing in the project.

“Since AI like ChatGPT has gained popularity, AI will forever impact our school experiences,” First-year student Sophia Crowe said. “As people continue to abuse AI in terms of schoolwork, it will continue to be a part of our school experiences.”

In early production of Chat GPT, Co-founder Sam Altman joked ‘A.I. will probably most likely lead to the end of the world, but in the meantime, there’ll be great companies.’ While they might have been laughing then, experts are becoming afraid of what AI can do in the future.

“AI is something that can be useful or harmful depending on how it is used. Personally, I don’t like to use AI because the idea that it gets smarter the more everyone uses it honestly scares me.” Crowe said. “The long-term effects of AI are hard to guess; I feel like it could either become a normal part of our lives or it will take over the world.”

In a study done by Stanford in July, they discussed Chat GPT’s performance. Over the course of a few months, they found the accuracy of ChatGPT answering a simple math question correct went from 98% at the beginning of their study to 2% after a few months.

In addition, an article posted on Stanford News by Melissa De Witte, a faculty affiliate at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, Jeff Hancock, comments on his thoughts on Open AI’s creation.

“Systems like ChatGPT are genuinely far better than things that we’ve had in the past, but there are still a lot of issues. They do not currently provide accurate information at very high rates,” Hancock said. “They can also produce falsehoods or make stuff up – what we call ‘hallucinating.’ It can take a lot of work to get them to produce something good.”

Self-driving cars and Ubers, altercating and generating digital imaging and much more have become possible through AI technology. As AI technology evolves, people are being cautious to check who’s in the driver’s seat: AI or us?

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About the Contributor
Elly Herrick
Elly Herrick, Online Editor
Elly Herrick (She/They) is currently the online/social media editor, business manager, features writer, and photographer. Try saying that five times fast. Herrick also works as the Communications Director on Student Senate, a 2023 Orientation Leader, and was newly added on a Tuesday 7-10p.m timeslot on KQAL. They are also the Social media manager for the WSU Pre-Athletic Training Club. Herrick is from Kenosha, Wisconsin, and is a second-year student at Winona State University studying Mass Communications: Public Relations with a minor in Advertising, Photography, and Creative Digital Media. They love following challenging and fulfilling stories. They also have a strong passion for writing and giving others a voice. Herrick loves to travel and over the summer, they traveled to Greece, Italy, and Barcelona. They are now saving up and planning on going to New Zealand this winter with their Aunt. Outside of school, they love taking the train and seeing live concerts with friends. They also love sharks and a good book!    

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