Tag Archives: Research

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 »

A mantra for academic research

'Resilient Life' coverAs part of my ongoing research, I’ve recently been reading through Brad Evans and Julian Reid’s Resilient Life: The Art of Living Dangerously. I’m not normally one for prefaces and acknowledgements, but this book’s front matter really struck a chord with me. In it, the authors rework Foucault’s own preface in Deleuze’s Anti-Oedipus to create a series of basic principles that they believe every intellectual project ‘of a political kind’ should follow. Personally, I believe these principles should be applied to all research, and I will certainly do my best to be guided by these principles in my own work Continue reading »

Lessons from my first research conference

I’ve just got back from the final day of the NWCDTP postgraduate conference, ‘Creative Humanities: Thinking, Making and Meaning’ at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

I’ve attended many conferences in my time, but up to now, only ever as a journalist, and never a truly academic conference such as this – so it has very much been a new experience for me, and one which given me a great deal to ponder. Continue reading »