In the olden days, our professors used to wrestle with existential questions like “Why are we here?” and “What’s the meaning of life?” These days, they find themselves cogitating a new enigma: “Is my student writing this or is AI?” I would like to welcome you to the chaotic cosmos of artificial intelligence, where the line dividing machines and human creativity has become so beautifully blurred that you might just catch yourself wondering if your waffle-maker is ghostwriting your next novel. 

Eons ago, we had people master the art of crafting enticing headlines and pictures to lure us into their web of sensationalism. Online arguments used to be a battle of wits between two humans where no one was left wondering, “Am I arguing with a robot or did I accidentally insult someone’s grandma?” Nowadays, it’s not unusual to find yourself in a heated debate with a bot who knows your political stance better than you do. Every meal has become an opportunity for a photoshoot and every facial expression is a potential meme. 

I remember having to labor over my homework in high school. We used to hide in the 24-inch bathroom stall to skip assembly to copy homework. I have a vivid picture in my mind of the ink smudging on my notebook from crying over not understanding why C3 H8 + 5O2 was 3CO2 + 4H2O. I chalk all that up to character building. Without going through all that, my brain would not work the way it does now. I would not have developed any thoughts and opinions of my own. This is why it scares me to see how many students just plug their assignments into a magical app that solves everything for them. Math problems? Solved! Literature analysis? Done! Critical thinking? What’s that? 

There’s no question that AI has impacted almost every aspect of our lives. But I believe that students have the most to lose in the long run. The use of AI in education went from being positive to negative. In other words, we went from needing AI to research for our papers to needing AI to just write our papers, so much so that professors from almost everywhere had to make changes in their syllabi to include the usage of AI.  It is important to note that any decline in intelligence lies not with AI but with how we choose to use it. We should remember that while AI can be a helpful assistant, it should never replace genuine effort, critical thinking, and human connection. However, it is human nature to opt for the easier option, especially if you’re a student trying to make life a lot easier. It’s like giving the keys to a toddler with a taste for chaos – entertaining for a while but ultimately destructive.

AI has most definitely transformed our lives, but students stand to lose the most if they embrace the ease of automation over genuine effort and human connection. The pandemic of stupidity will henceforth with the upcoming generations. Unless, of course, we keep our waffle makers for breakfast and let our brains do the writing!