Arizona State University (ASU) is the first higher education institution to partner with AI research organization OpenAI. The university shared that the collaboration will provide students with full use of OpenAI’s educational tools.
Brad Lightcap, chief operating officer for OpenAI said in November 2023, that they would be “looking into” forming a team to explore educational applications of AI technology.
The current global focus on Generative AI, driven by the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022, has seen a rise in AI-related partnerships. Arizona State University revealed the collaboration with OpenAI will focus on three main areas: enhancing student success, forging new avenues for innovative research, and streamlining organizational processes.
“Research shows that nearly two-thirds of organizations are already actively exploring the integration of AI.“By providing access to advanced AI capabilities, these tools are leveling the playing field, allowing individuals and organizations — regardless of size or resources — to harness the power of AI for creative and innovative endeavors.” ASU Chief Information Officer Lev Gonick noted in the announcement.
ASU President Michael M. Crow said, “our collaboration with OpenAI reflects our philosophy and our commitment to participating directly to the responsible evolution of AI learning technologies.”
“ASU recognizes that augmented and artificial intelligence systems are here to stay, and we are optimistic about their ability to become incredible tools that help students to learn, learn more quickly and understand subjects more thoroughly,” he added.
The choice of partnership with ASU reflects the university’s ongoing commitment to innovation. ASU is a top 10 university for U.S. patents awarded and received recognition as the number 1 in innovation among American universities, ahead of Stanford, MIT and Caltech, in the annual“Best Colleges” 2024 rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
The popular learning tool initially raised red flags about using Generative AI tools in the classroom, with the potential for cheating and plagiarism being a key concern. A number of US schools banned the use of OpenAI in their classrooms, however UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has championed the use of AI, stating at London Tech Week 2023 that AI could be used to provide “personalized learning” to children at school.
“Most teachers are trying to figure out ways to incorporate (ChatGPT) into the curriculum and into the way they teach,” Lightcap said at the INSEAD Americas Conference last week. “We at OpenAI are trying to help them think through the problem and we probably next year will establish a team with the sole intent of doing that.”
OpenAI believes its technology can be beneficial to learning. In a blog on the OpenAI website titled ‘The use of AI tools in education,’ the AI research company outlines how teachers can implement ChatGPT in the classroom.
On January 9th Governor Josh Shapiro revealed a Generative AI pilot on X. The Governor of Pennsylvania shared the AI pilot would involve collaboration with OpenAI, which represents OpenAI’s first-ever agreement with a state entity.
In an accompanying press release , the executive order was revealed to be initially limited to OA employees and will be used for a number of tasks, including: “creating and editing copy, making outdated policy language more accessible, drafting job descriptions to help with recruitment and hiring, addressing duplication and conflicting guidance within hundreds of thousands of pages of employee policy, helping employees generate code”.
While governments and educational bodies consider the use of AI in their systems, Big Tech companies continue to race towards AI dominance as regulators and investors continue to debate AI implications at the World Economic Forum 2024.