AI Generators: Appropriate and Responsible Use of Technology

AI Generators: Appropriate and Responsible Use of Technology

Educators are just beginning to scratch the surface on the utility of incorporating artificial intelligence (“AI”) in their work lives. AI is here to stay but educators must exercise caution in its use in order to satisfy legal and professional obligations.

 As stated by Scott Pelley on the April 16, 2023, edition of 60 Minutes, “We may look on our time as the moment civilization was transformed as it was by fire, agriculture, and electricity.” While a seemingly hyperbolic statement, those who have explored using AI will attest to the exciting possibilities and potential efficiencies.

From a legal standpoint, among other things, privacy concerns must be kept in mind. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) mandates the protection of personally identifiable information that is maintained in education records and includes direct identifiers, such as a student’s name or identification number, indirect identifiers, such as a student’s date of birth, or other information which can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity. When working with AI, educators must not upload personally identifiable information.

From a professional responsibility standpoint, the unmonitored use of AI could jeopardize an educator’s license. The Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators requires the “appropriate and responsible use of technology.” The ninth principle mandates as follows: “Educators shall always use technology, electronic communications, and social media in a responsible and professional manner and appropriately safeguard the unauthorized use or access to electronic devices and data entrusted to them.”

One should keep this ninth principle in mind when utilizing AI. People are learning a difficult lesson that AI “hallucinates.” In other words, it makes things up. High-profile instances have occurred wherein attorneys have blindly copied AI generated text into their briefs, only to find that AI hallucinated the fictitious case law it produced. An efficient shortcut has resulted in damaged reputations and sanctions.
Individuals with a license, such as educators, must monitor the AI output that goes into their work product. Failing to do so could result in legal liability and could potentially amount to conduct unbecoming an educator.

Feel free to contact Ennis Britton if you have any questions about the legalities and professional obligations in utilizing AI. Be sure to catch our presentation AI Generators: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly at the COSSBA Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas on February 24, 2024 and BASA Ohio on March 20, 2024.

*Image was AI-generated using RF123.