Grad Students Publish Essays Co-Authored by Artificial Intelligence Tool

Grad Students Publish Essays Co-Authored by Artificial Intelligence Tool

Stock photo of students at computer

The essays are an experiment conducted by students in Fairfield Dolan's MS in Business Analytics program, as part of a no-code artificial intelligence class taught by Philip Maymin, PhD.

The idea was, we wanted to harness some of the most advanced inventions that humanity has ever created, without doing any coding.

— Associate Professor of Analytics and MSBA Program Director Philip Maymin, PhD

Last semester, graduate students in Fairfield Dolan's Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program applied for — and were granted — permission to use OpenAI's cutting-edge artificial intelligence text generator tool, GPT-3, for an essay-writing experiment in a no-code artificial intelligence (AI) class taught by MSBA program director and associate professor of analytics Philip Maymin, PhD.

Founded in 2015, San Francisco-based OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research and deployment company whose mission, according to its website, "is to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI)—by which we mean highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work — benefits all of humanity."

Dr. Maymin's MSBA class experiment was unique because at the time, OpenAI’s GPT-3 was only accessible via waitlist to a limited number of researchers in pre-release, or beta version. OpenAI removed the waitlist and opened GPT-3 availability to developers in mid-November 2021.

To co-author their essays with GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer, third generation), the MSBA students chose their titles in advance, then typed a sentence or two before allowing the the AI to complete the  paragraph. Once GPT-3's writing contributions were added, students reviewed the content and either continued on, or asked the AI to try again.

The resulting hardcover collection of essays, Baby AI: Cyborg Essays, was self-published in October 2021 and is available on Amazon. Essays on a variety of subjects include “The National Park Service” by Rachel Hakes ’21 and “Modern Monetary Theory” by Conlisk Scholar Daniel Enright.

The book's chapter illustrations were created using a separate no-code AI tool, NightCafe Studio, which generated never-before-seen images based on the chapter titles.

“The idea was, we wanted to harness some of the most advanced inventions that humanity has ever created, without doing any coding,” explained Dr. Maymin. “We were able to have an entire class without Python, R, et cetera, and instead used amazing new tools that are available online. While both approaches have value, it’s remarkable how much can be done without any programming.”

After publishing their volume of co-authored essays, Dr. Maymin's students set to work on advanced final projects for the course. Members of Fairfield's women's basketball team and softball team participated in one project, which involved building new AI tools that can analyze videos of free-throw basketball shooting and softball pitches, then suggest improvements. Another project attempted to use head shots of professional athletes to predict handedness, salary, and position across a variety of sports using tools such as Microsoft’s Lobe, Runway AI, and Google’s Teachable Machines.

To learn more about Fairfield Dolan’s MSBA program visit fairfield.edu/msba.

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