Remember those old science fiction movies, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, where people had conversations with robots? Well, it’s no longer science fiction. Since OpenAI came out with ChatGPT last November, “chatbots” have caused excitement and concern worldwide because of their ability to mimic human intelligence.

On this episode of Speaking of … College of Charleston, computer science professors Navid Hashemi and Sarah Schoemann shed light on the use of artificial intelligence (AI), ChatGPT and what the rise of the conversational chatbot means for higher education, work and life in general.

“It’s revolutionary,” says Hashemi, who compares the development in technology to the Industrial Revolution when “we tried to replace our muscles with robots or tools. But here, the systems are trying to help our brain to make better decisions and somehow make our life easier. If the paradigm shift is exponential in the next few years, I believe that we are going to see a lot of new advancements in many different fields – in drug discovery, in music, in art, in robots, social living, driving and self-driving.”

One of the biggest questions and hottest debates surrounding this AI tech is how these large language models will change higher education and whether educators should embrace or ban AI from classrooms.

“I think it’s a technology that you really need a nuanced approach to,” says Schoemann. “Ultimately, the idea of banning it outright will fail because students are savvy, and trying to ban any technology from students is never really the right move. But I’m not sure that it needs to become the center of the classroom.”

Navid Hashemi and Sarah Schoemann talk all things ChatGPT on the latest episode of ‘Speaking of … College of Charleston.’

Featured on this Episode:

Sarah Schoemann is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. She received her doctorate from Georgia Tech in 2021. At the College of Charleston she is the director of the Critical Art and Technology (CAT) Lab. Schoemann primarily teaches courses in the computer department’s Computing in the Arts Program, which combines the study of the arts with computation. Trained as both a fine artist and a researcher in the field of Human Computer Interaction and Game Studies, Schoemann specializes in the design and evaluation of new technologies such as games and interactive experiences with a focus on how creativity and playfulness can have real-world impacts. She is particularly interested in the implications of technologies for critically engaging with broader social questions regarding justice, equity and inclusion.

Navid Hashemi is the director of the College’s graduate program in data science and analytics. He joined the Department of Computer Science in 2020 as an assistant professor and founded the Data Mining and Connectivity (DMC) Research Lab. He is an active researcher in spatiotemporal data mining, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT) analytics and crowd-sensing. Hashemi holds a doctorate in computer science from the University of Georgia. Prior to joining the College, he held a visiting faculty position at Emory University.

Resources for this Episode:

AI expert Timnit Gebru talks to 60 minutes about bias in large language models like ChatGPT.

Learn about Getty Images’ lawsuit against Stable Diffusion for copyright infringement.

Refik Anadol is an artist who uses AI to create wall-sized generative art, using only “ethically sourced data” as training data.

Official chatGPT webpage:

Official GPT-4 webpage: