School of Business and Law

Inspiring journeys to work

AI industry panel event

How to use AI in higher education and the workplace 

Technology is forever changing and artificial intelligence (AI) is central to the conversation around what’s next.

Earlier this month our Marketing Management BSc course leader Liz Hawkins organised an industry panel event for a discussion on AI, titled ‘How to use AI and get away with it’.

“AI will fundamentally change the world for marketing, and also how we use it from an academic point of view,” said Principal Lecturer in Marketing, Dan Bennett, who introduced the panel event. 

“This is a chance for students to talk to some people, listen to some questions, get some feedback about using AI and how it will impact on your working years over the next 20, 30, even 40 years. You’ve got an industry view, an academic view and what AI is saying throughout the session.” 

Dan Bennett introducing the AI talk

Our panel of experts was made up of:  

  • Benjamin Davis from Seed – Search Marketing Agency 
  • Doug McFadyean, a marketing digital and strategy specialist, plus School of Business and Law graduate 
  • Dec Shinnick, a content creator and current final-year marketing student who did his placement year at a marketing agency 
  • Dr Kamila Walters, our Associate Dean for Academic Operations and previous Quality Lead for the school 
  • Sarah Cork, our Learning and Teaching Lead for the school  
  • plus special guest…chatGPT! 

Students attending the AI panel discussion in Elm House

Our panel introduced themselves and their connection to AI.  

Sarah said: “I support colleagues to ensure you have the best learning experience possible. I make sure that your assessment briefs are clear, thorough and authentic, so relevant for real-world practice. AI is part of that.” 

Kamila introduced her role as the previous Quality Lead for the school: “The last couple of years I’ve been chairing the academic misconduct panels. ChatGPT is one of many AI tools – there are challenges and opportunities.” 

Dec represented the voice of everyone in the room as a student: “I’ve just come back from placement where part of my role was to champion AI and bring it into the office. It was a unique opportunity to bring AI into the pitching stage with clients.” 

Doug said: “I’m here to shed light on how we use AI in the workplace. AI is hugely important to marketing, and the more senior you get there are lots of tools to help with admin.” 

Ben has been working in a marketing agency for four years: “I use AI daily, not just chatGPT but AI tools for Google ads and campaign creation.” 

And how did chatGPT introduce its relation to AI? “I don’t have personal opinions or feelings as I am just a computer program designed to provide information and assist with tasks. AI has the potential to bring about significant advancements in various industries, including healthcare, transportation, finance, and more. It can automate repetitive tasks, analyse large datasets, and even simulate human decision-making processes. Disclaimer: chatGPT may provide inaccurate information, people or stats.” 

Our panel discussed the challenges of using AI in education and the workplace, how AI changes the way we work, as well as their predictions for the future of AI.  

It was a hugely insightful evening attended by lots of School of Business and Law students – particularly marketing students – coming along to find out how AI will impact their university experience and working life. 

Weren’t able to attend the event in person?

Don’t worry, we’ve got the panel questions and their answers below for you to have a look through.  

Find out why Ben, Doug and Dec think AI isn’t going anywhere and why it’s something to be adopted rather than scared of using. Find out from Kamila how the metaverse is impacting certain industries such as supply chain, and understand from Sarah how the school will be looking to build using AI into assessments.

AI panel and students

Panel questions and answers

What are the challenges of using AI in education/impact on marketing as professional skill?

Dec recommends learning how to adapt quickly: “AI has taken lots of us by surprise. Embrace how to use it, how to learn from it and be able to adapt.” 

Kamila agrees that AI has taken us by surprise: “We’re trying to catch up with students. The biggest is what we’re assessing and the notion of original content – who generates that, is it AI or the student?” 

Sarah commented: “There’s so many things to focus on such as ethics and ownership. We have to be explicit about whether you can use it or not in an assessment.” 

From a professional point of view, Doug noted that the better quality info you put in, the better your output is going to be: “Put in better prompts and spend more time doing it. The output shouldn’t be your final response.”  

Doug’s advice for current students? “The biggest value is using AI for ideas – it can give you fascinating angles that you’ve not considered. Use it in your assignments for ideas and as a source of creativity.” 

And ChatGPT’s reply: “Using artificial intelligence (AI) in education holds great promise, but it also comes with several challenges and concerns. Some of the key challenges of implementing AI in education include data privacy and security, ethics, bias and fairness, access and equity, teacher and student acceptance, plus cost. 

“Overcoming these challenges requires a collaborative effort among educators, policymakers, technologists, and other stakeholders to ensure that AI is used in a way that benefits all students and the education system as a whole.” 

How does AI change how we work (including what and how we teach)?

In terms of affecting the marketing industry, Ben said: “AI has been forced upon us in digital marketing and it’s going to keep changing. It’s already there and you need to learn how to use it.” 

Dec is confident about AI integrating itself into our lives: “Fundamentally AI will be woven into the fabric across all education outlets…it will become a natural part of the process. As a student you can start to compile really effective sources that are accurate and appropriate for assignments. You can use AI to analyse resources in ways we haven’t thought about before.” 

Sarah is hopeful that adopting AI will help establish a better work-life balance “enabling people to do more of what they love doing for longer”. In education she hopes it will “lead to a more personalised learning journey.” 

ChatGPT’s answer talked about AI having the potential to significantly change the nature of work. “Some of the key ways AI can change the work we do: automation, augmentation, job transformation, new job roles, improved decision-making, personalisation, safety and risk management, collaboration, training and education, workforce planning, globalisation, cost reduction and increased productivity.” 

Dec, Doug and Ben on the AI panel

From left to right: Dec, Doug and Ben

What skills/qualities do we need to instil in our students when it comes to using AI?

ChatGPT thinks critical thinking, adaptability and resilience, problem-solving, technical and digital competence, plus organisation are crucial skills to preparing students for practice. 

Ben suggested students start using AI tools now: “Early adopters have an advantage. Being able to learn new things and try out new trends helps sell yourself.” 

Dec agrees about the importance of horizon scanning: “Look at what’s coming next and be looking at new innovations.” 

Doug thinks it’s important for students to have a go but take chatGPT with a pinch of salt: “If you’re going to use it, it’s better to rewrite it yourself. Look at best practice, have a go with a few prompts. Be curious with it – the more you resist, you’re missing out on potential ideas that could help you out.” 

Kamila agrees it’s important to start using AI: “Technology is changing so quickly, with AI coming even quicker. Everyone can have a go at being on top of what [changes] are coming through.” 

The metaverse was seen as a key step change to the world of commerce but has gone quiet… is AI a fad rather than a big change we’ve all been talking about?  

Dec disagreed with the question: “The metaverse is the cyborgation of ourselves as part of our existence, for example snapchat filters. The domestic consumer may not necessarily be aware of it but stuff is happening.” 

Ben agrees with Dec about the metaverse becoming more visible: “Metaverse augmented reality is coming and being drip fed, such as virtual shopping experiences. For example showing IKEA products in your home. AI is not going away.” 

Doug is hopeful about the metaverse but noted it’s still young compared to AI: “The metaverse is a very big change but much slower to integrate because it’s changing user behaviour.” 

Kamila noted that metaverse is live and kicking in the supply chain industry: “The BMW factory are running metaverse shopping experiences and product development [in the industry] are using augmented reality.” 

Of course, chatGPT had a lot to say about whether AI was a fad: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is not a fad; it is a significant and transformative technological development that has been evolving and growing over several decades. While there may be periods of hype and overblown expectations, AI has proven its value and practicality in various applications and industries.”  

Dan as chatGPT, Sarah and Kamila on the AI panel

From left to right: Dan as chatGPT, Sarah and Kamila

How do we address misconduct/fraud/truthfulness and representation in education or in marketing when using AI?

Sarah spoke about the importance of designing AI into assessments and learning outcomes: “We need to make sure that we use it appropriately and are we assessing that you’ve actually learned the learning outcomes. There’s no effective tool to see if chatGPT has been used so we need to work on building truthfulness into the assessment brief.” 

Kamila advised students not to use chatGPT to create references: “ChatGPT doesn’t create good journal references so be careful with that. It might stop you from taking a module.” 

ChatGPT answered about the ethical considerations around truthfulness in AI responses: “While AI models like mine are designed to provide accurate and factual information, they are not infallible. Here are some ways to enhance the truthfulness of AI responses: regular updates, fact-checking, citing sources and user feedback.” 

Doug noted the grey area around AI and policy: “There’s no law so while we’re in a grey area and getting companies to agree, it comes down to marketers to do things right. There’s no shame in using AI – use it as a source/reference.” 

If you had a crystal ball, what are your predictions for AI in five or 10 years?

Kamila spoke about the great potential of AI in education: “We’ve already seen start of personalised learning – you dictate the pace and get instantaneous feedback. This helps you understand the best approach for you as a student.” 

Dec is excited about what the future looks like, stating “We hate what mobile phones and social media have done to us but we couldn’t go without it – they’re built into our lives. AI will be be built into our lives too.” 

Ben agrees with Dec: “AI is going to continue to change things – it already has and it will continue. It’s exciting.” 

Doug is confident that AI will become more and more ingrained: “It’s not going to replace people but there will be more and more assistance tools.” 

And the predictions from chatGPT? “I don’t have the ability to predict the future, as my knowledge is limited to information available up to September 2021. However, I can speculate on potential developments for AI models like chatGPT in the coming years based on trends and possibilities up to that point eg improved language understanding, enhanced contextual understanding, increased personalisation, regulatory and policy developments, plus integration into everyday life. 

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Zoe Cassell • November 2, 2023

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