This feature is adapted from the 2024 edition of ICEF Insights magazine and the digital copy is free to download. We are now experiencing a future that, until recently, leading scholars and researchers thought was decades away. A new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) tools is quickly reshaping how we learn, work, search for information, and even interact with each other.
AI has advanced way more quickly than expected and this has presented us with a dilemma. Depending on who you talk to, AI technologies will either liberate us from tedious tasks while ushering in a new era of human productivity, or they will expose us to unprecedented risks and challenges. The technology is currently moving faster than we are, and pretty much everyone is racing to catch up.
Artificial intelligence is not new. If you’ve ever asked Siri for directions or used Alexa to play music, you’re already an AI user. Students have also utilized chatbots and advanced study abroad search platforms to find the right programmes for them.
What’s different now is the advanced capabilities we’re seeing in a new generation of AI tools known as “generative AI,” with OpenAI’s ChatGPT being the best known. ChatGPT is a very engaging early example. When you talk about this so-called “generative AI,” you’re describing software built to understand us and communicate with us like another person.
ChatGPT-3 was released in November 2022, with its more powerful successor, ChatGPT-4, following quickly in March 2023. In September 2023, OpenAI announced the release of a new version of ChatGPT that interacts with voice and images. Among other applications, Spotify announced that its podcasters will use this latest release to translate content into multiple languages.
Generative AI is a huge subject and it’s a field that’s going to change very quickly. There are clear ways in which AI tools can make recruitment faster, easier, and better. For example, AI tools can support rich search prompts based on a student’s profile, reduce response times for queries and admissions applications, and personalize communications for individual students.
AI is a powerful search mechanism all on its own. It’s remarkable to see how generative AI already produces a very different kind of search experience. But while AI has made it easier to generate text, people and search engines will value content from human beings who share lived experience even more.
In terms of admissions, AI tools can manage high volumes of student requests at the top end of the enrolment funnel. The simple truth is that most institutions are struggling with rising volumes of student queries and admissions applications. AI tools can help to address this issue.