Is AI cheating?

This is a HOT topic these days and one I definitely have an opinion about! 

Is using AI by definition cheating?

No.  AI is a tool. It is possible to cheat with this tool though, if you generate content using AI and claim it as your own.

Recently I was collaborating with an organization to lead a series of workshops for them. After our first meeting to plan the workshops, they sent me an e-mail asking for a title for the workshop series. I thought about it for a few minutes and nothing inspiring came to mind.

I asked ChatGPT to generate ten possible titles for the Workshop series. I told ChatGPT who the audience was and what the topics would be.

The list that ChatGPT generated was boring. Not helpful. So I asked the same question again, but this time I clarified that I was looking for CLEVER titles. This new list had a lot of potential. None of the 10 suggestions were bang on, but it was incredibly helpful. This list inspired me and helped me generate some better ideas.

After I forwarded 3 potential workshop series titles to my client, I quickly got a response  saying that the titles were fantastic.  Frankly, I agreed.

The next day I shared this story with a girlfriend of mine. She’s a lawyer and she works full time in a big organization. So her response surprised me. She said, “Andrea! That’s cheating!”

What? 

“You’re not allowed to do that! That’s cheating!”

“Wait!” I asked, “You think using ChatGPT to help me come up with a title is cheating?”

“Yes!”, she answered.

Oh boy. 

A few days after this conversation, I was at my son’s high school, and met his English teacher. He asked if I had any questions for him. So I asked him, what’s the policy of your high school students using AI for their homework and assignments in your English class?

UNFORTUNATELY, this high school English teacher’s response was exactly what you might guess.  And that disappointed me. He started giving me the speech about what AI is and the downfalls of the technology. And then he said, “For now, the policy is that it’s not allowed.” 

I just looked at him with a completely neutral face and nodded.

It’s certainly not that I didn’t have a response for either person. I had a lot going on in my mind that I wanted to say. As it turns out, I do have an opinion.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about!

3 things to Talk About this week:

1. Is AI cheating?

2. AI Generated vs AI Assisted

3. An Assisted Hat Trick

 


1️⃣ Is AI cheating? 

Is using AI by-definition cheating? No.  AI is a tool. It is possible to cheat with this tool though, if you generate content using AI and claim it as your own.

When I was in high school and university, there was a big uproar about whether students should be allowed to use calculators. I remember watching about 5 of my classmates in my operations management final exam get walked out of the gymnasium for cheating with their calculator.  Yikes. 

Nowadays my 15 year old daughter has a mighty powerful calculator in her backpack. She uses it for assignments AND in exams. It’s a tool.  It’s definitely not cheating.

Interestingly, when you shift the lens to business, it’s less about plagiarism specifically and more about copyright ownership. It’s less focused on blaming the user, the business person or the organization who leverages AI. It’s more focused on blaming the technology itself. What sources is the AI referencing? And what are the copyright obligations of the AI technology to the rightful owner of the intellectual property. 

So was I cheating when I used AI to help me come up with the titles for the workshop series I was working on? No.  I asked ChatGPT to come up with some clever titles, and I used those ten ideas to come up with a few titles that worked very well.


2️⃣ AI Generated vs AI Assisted

 

You could say that the titles I created were AI assisted.  This is another insight that kept reading about you probably already know but I think it bears discuss:  the distinction between AI generated vs AI assisted. 

I have an example here that I think beautifully helps illustrate the difference between AI generated and AI assisted.  When I interviewed professor Avi Goldfarb about AI, he talked about how the professors he admires are allowing students to use AI as a tool in their essay writing.  He talked about how, for example, a professor would assign an essay and share with the students what an AI generated response to the assignment would look like.  Then the prof would say “Something similar to this would probably get you a C. So the baseline has gotten tougher.  I expect you to use AI and your own knowledge and creativity to come up with something significantly better than this.”

The essay that the professor generated using AI is exactly that – AI generated.  The versions the students would turn in would be AI assisted. Ill get to some of the ways the students could use AI in a moment.

In business, some folks may start with AI generated copy, then edit it.  That’s still called AI generated.  Other folks, including myself, create content, then use AI to edit and improve it.  That’s AI assisted. 

By the way, if I ever use AI generated content, I will let you know!  That goes for copy and images. For this episode, I used ChatGPT to assist me with the description and I used Lensa to create the feature image 

 


3️⃣ An Assisted Hat Trick

Talk About Talk Episode 145 - Is AI Cheating - AI hat trick - photo of hockey players

 

You know, in hockey, players get credit for “assisting” a goal.  That’s another way to think about the use of AI in your work.

I’ve got three tasks you might want to try for your AI “hat trick”:

  • Transcribing and summarizing meetings – NOBODY likes taking minutes. Make AI do it. Get a transcript of the audio file, upload the transcript and the meeting agenda, and ask AI to summarize the meeting in bullet points, based on the agenda topics.  REVIEW IT.  Edit it. And voila!
  • Review your presentations – Got a big meeting or important sales presentation coming up? I’ve used a platform called YOODLI to analyze some of my clients formal presentations. You upload a video and it assesses your tone, your cadence, your engagement, your crutch words and more. The data generated by Yoodli is supplemented by my suggestions.  Its kind of cool,  Let me know if you want to give it a try!
  • Brainstorming ideas – When I was stuck for title suggestions, I asked AI to help me. You could ask AI for ideas to get you started on a topic or, after you’ve brainstormed with your team, ask AI to review the ideas to see if it can pull in any ideas you might have missed. 

There you go – 3 things to Talk About this week:
1️⃣ Is AI Cheating
2️⃣ AI Generated vs AI Assisted 
3️⃣ An Assisted Hat Trick

As you can tell, I’m pretty excited about how AI can HELP us and prompt us to be more thoughtful, more resourceful, and ultimately MORE creative.  

It’s a hot topic – what are your thoughts? Please email me or message me on LinkedIn anytime.

Have a great week

Talk soon,

 

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