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Friday, July 12, 2024

Artificial intelligence a threat to academic integrity

Story by Farai Gwaze

The need for tertiary institutions to take a firm stance against students engaging in plagiarism using artificial intelligence (AI) through harnessing relevant policies has come under the spotlight.

Speaking to ZBC News, Harare Institute of Technology lecturer, Dr Tirivangani Magadza highlighted the use of artificial intelligence in academia, particularly ChatGpt as a cause for increased cases of plagiarism.

“AI is a way of automating tasks normally done by human beings, basically AI are machines are doing tasks that are usually reserved for people. In academics, we say that you need to be able to cite the work that others have done. So in using tools like ChatGpt, those tools are using content they found online and normally these tools do not necessarily cite where that content comes from,” he said.

Zimbabwe Information Communication Technology chairperson Jacob Mutisi noted that institutions of higher learning have, however, found remedies to address the problem.

“We also utilise tools like Turn It In, which are now able to detect content that has been generated by AI. Another way is to educate our students and our staff on responsible use of artificial intelligence, so if people know what to do and what not to do, it can also help them.”

Mutisi emphasised on the need for a clear policy and consequences for students caught engaging in plagiarism, “Each and every institution must have a policy against the use of AI in terms of generating reports and in terms of reproducing some work. There’ve got to be policies and consequences for an average student caught using AI as a tool for generating what the lecturers and University requires.”

Artificial intelligence is yet to become more essential to Zimbabweans beyond the field of academia, but its untapped potential gives room for new opportunities, amid emerging technologies.

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