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Finnish universities okay ChatGPT—for now

Professors say students will inevitably use artificial intelligence, but warn that programmes like ChatGPT can spread bias.

Käsi näppäimistöllä, ruudulla lukee ChatGPT.
Image: Marko Melto / Yle
Yle News,

Universities in Finland, like in many other countries, are scrambling to formulate ethical policies for AI-enabled content.

Helsinki University computer science professor Hannu Toivonen told Finnish news agency STT that HU had decided to allow students to use language models like ChatGPT to support their coursework.

Jyväskylä University is on the same page. It has not forbidden students from using ChatGPT for their assignments. Vice rector Marja-Leena Laakso, however, said she had not observed students making much use of artificial intelligence in their studies.

Language models like ChatGPT draw on probabilities when generating responses to queries, producing answers from massive amounts of existing written material.

Since launching at the end of last year, teachers have sounded the alarm that artificial intelligence will upend education. According to Toivanen, the biggest risk posed by ChatGPT is that students stop thinking.

"You don't get assignments just for the sake of the assignment. You're supposed to learn something and reflect on it," he said.

Toivonen pointed out that while the algorithm may appear practical, it can provide a simplified version of reality. He added that bias and discrimination are also concerns, especially if the language model mainly draws on western sources in English.

Plagiarism is another issue, according to Toivonen, who said it's not entirely clear who owns AI-created text, though he said this is primarily an issue for the app's developers.

Laako from the University of Jyväskylä said that while AI-detection software may not yet recognise text generated by ChatGPT, this could change in the future. She said JU was planning to update its plagiarism guidelines and encouraged students in the meantime to use AI responsibly.

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