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The Digital Student

What are the ethical considerations of Artificial Intelligence Study Tools?

What are the ethical considerations of Artificial Intelligence Study Tools?

Artificial Intelligence Study Tools should be used as a companion for learning and you should think carefully before using them and how you are using them

Teesside University outlines the following ethical considerations when using Artificial Intelligence Study Tools:

AI and Personal Data

Compliance Requirements:

High-Risk Processing:

  • Using AI for personal data is often considered high-risk due to potential privacy infringements.
  • Risks include bias, discrimination, and data accuracy issues.

The Learning Process behind Artificial Study Tools

  • Each question asked to a tool like ChatGPT is added to a large database.
  • The system learns from this database to respond to other users.
Potential Risks
  • Uploaded information may become public.

  • Risk of exposure in case of cyber attacks.

Data Concerns
  • Questions about the University or its customers get added to the tool's publicly accessible knowledge base.
  • This information is shared with new users in response to their questions.
  • A recent Cyberhaven survey suggests companies upload confidential material to ChatGPT frequently.
  • Evidence of customer data scenarios being uploaded.
Impact on Privacy
  • AI algorithms with bias may impact privacy.
  • Example: Bias in reviewing student applications based on geographic location and ethnicity correlation.

General considerations

Teesside University has the following concerns about analysis programmes:

Automated analysis and interpretation programmes 
  • Refinement of automated analysis programs (e.g., NVivo) raises ethical concerns.
  • Development of GenAI increases the potential for falsifying qualitative data

Examples of problematic tools

Teesside University has the following concerns about some Artificial Intelligence Study Tools:

Artificial Intelligence is a companion to learning and therefore should not be used to attend meetings on your behalf.

  • Tools like link your calendar with your Otter account, and automatically participate in the meeting at the designated time.

  •'s functions include analyzing and transcribing meetings, automatically summarizing key topics, and capturing shared slides during the meeting.

Privacy Implications and Data Location
  • utilizes servers located in the USA. It's essential to consider this aspect while using the tool.
  • Privacy regulations in the US may not align adequately with practices in the UK/EU.
  • retrieves email addresses from the meeting invite, potentially leading to concerns about data handling and privacy.
Identifying Usage:
  • To determine if is in use during a meeting, observe the appearance of a participant named "X's" joining the meeting.
Confidentiality Concerns
  • The automatic transcription and sharing feature pose a risk when discussing confidential issues, as these may be transcribed and circulated without explicit permission from all parties involved.
Removal from Meetings
  • Teesside Univerity's policy states that individuals suspecting usage should request the removal of the suspected user from the meeting.
Alternative Transcription possibilities
  • All Teesside University Meetings should be held on Teams, which has a transcription service. Please ask if this can be activated if you need it.

​​​Protecting Commercial Data and Intellectual Property

Teesside University has the following advice about commercial data and intellectual property:

  • Recognize Risks:
    • Be aware of risks to commercial data and intellectual property.
  • Prevent Unintended Disclosure:
    • Take steps to avoid unintentional sharing or disclosure.
  • Guard Against Exfiltration:
    • Implement measures to prevent data exfiltration.