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AI is a new tool, and how it’s used is key

Artificial intelligence can make our lives harder.

AI can make it challenging to decipher what is real and what isn’t. Teachers may struggle to identify when tools like ChatGPT are used to write essays. Graphic designers may worry about the use of AI to replace the work they create.

But really, AI cannot replace humans. If used correctly — in ways both responsible and intentional — it can make our lives easier. AI can be a tool.

At Seneca Valley School District, superintendent Tracy Vitale said Monday she wants to teach students to use AI responsibly. As she meets regularly on the topic, the district could become the first in the state to develop policies around its use.

Rather than prevent the use of AI, she hopes to show students how to use it the right way.

To the north at Slippery Rock University, AI is used by art students. We reported Wednesday that students and staff alike have concerns about AI but recognize it as a tool for enhancing their work and helping them be more efficient with their time.

Katherine Mickle, associate professor of art at SRU, said her students use AI “minimally” to clean up their work. They might remove an object interfering in the corner of a photo, for instance.

The students’ talents come through in other ways, as AI cannot make up for lack of skill in framing or shot composition, she said.

What is concerning to some students and professors — and to us — is the thought AI alone can do the job of humans.

In Wednesday’s article, however, Sean Macmillan, chairman of the art department at SRU, said AI programs used to make images do so by referencing already existing images.

“AI basically regurgitates everything that is already out there,” Macmillan said. “It's not going to come up with something completely on its own like a human can.”

We applaud SRU and Seneca Valley School District leaders for not shying away from new technology, but instead teaching its students how to use AI responsibly. After all, it’s not going away anytime soon.

— TL

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