Tag Archives: Higher Education

If AI can write news items, they can write essays too

There is a crisis coming in academia. It’s been looming on the horizon for quite some time, and now threatens to bring the profession into disrepute.

That problem is AI.

For many years now, AI have been used to power chat bots and digital assistants such as Cortana, Siri and Alexa. Over the years, these bots have become far more nuanced and complex. While these systems aren’t intelligent in the same way as a human being, they do a fairly good job at mimicking human behaviour, and convincing us that they are ‘real’.

Indeed, these technologies are now so convincing that it won’t be long before they are put to nefarious use. It’s already been shown that AI can write convincing news articles, and it won’t be long before they are used to write academic essays, even more complex works such as research papers and even full-length publications.

Make no mistake, this is a serious issue, and one that needs to be taken seriously. In the next few years, AI-powered essay mills have the potential to shake academia right to the very core.

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Time to take higher education (and research) seriously!

I’ve been a PhD student for two years now, and in that time I’ve attended my fair share of conferences, both as a speaker, and a delegate. I’ve also organised several events of my own, including the AHRC’s postgraduate conference for the North West.

One thing that all these events have in common is they all cost a lot of money. Only last week I received an email inviting me to register for a conference and pay the £35 required for me to attend. Of course, this fee wasn’t advertised before I applied, and if I wasn’t speaking, I dare say I wouldn’t go – especially given the cost of travel and accommodation.

But £35 (plus extras) is barely scratching the surface of academic conference costs these days. The International Gothic Association is charging a whopping £180 to attend the four day event at the end of July. And that’s just the unwaged price; a full delegate can expect to pay £250 for four days, or £120 for a single day, plus a further £60 to attend the conference dinner. Continue reading »

Academic e-books and the changing face of university libraries

For many years now there’s been a trend in university libraries to focus on the provision of e-books and online resources over physical publications. This is especially true in recent times as university libraries seem to be moving towards a space to study rather than a place to find knowledge. Continue reading »