New York City is reversing course after restricting the use of OpenAI’s artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT in public schools.
David Banks, the chancellor of the Big Apple’s school system, announced the shift in a Thursday op-ed in Chalkbeat.
He said that while the technology had initially caught educators off guard, the school system is now determined to embrace its potential.
“While initial caution was justified, it has now evolved into an exploration and careful examination of this new technology’s power and risks,” Banks explained.
Banks said the school system is creating a repository and community to share findings across schools, as well as providing educators with resources – including some developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – and real-life examples of successful AI implementation in schools. It will also continue to collect information from experts in both schools and the field of AI going forward.
OpenAI ChatGPT app on the App Store website displayed on a screen and OpenAI website displayed on a phone screen. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto)
“Our nation is potentially on the brink of a significant societal shift driven by generative artificial intelligence. We must make sure that this technology’s benefits are equitably distributed to prevent further widening of socioeconomic gaps in our country,” Banks continued.
Banks said the move didn’t prohibit its use entirely but required schools to request access for staff and students.
“The knee-jerk fear and risk overlooked the potential of generative AI to support students and teachers, as well as the reality that our students are participating in and will work in a world where understanding generative AI is crucial,” he said.