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Cornell University

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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As Cornell continues to explore artificial intelligence (AI), particularly generative AI, here are some preliminary guidelines for using these rapidly evolving technologies in ways that uphold the university's core values of purposeful discovery and free and open inquiry and expression.

In This Article

Preliminary Guidelines

Generative artificial intelligence (AI), offered through tools such as ChatGPT, Claude, Bard, Bing AI, GitHub Copilot, and DALL-E, is a subset of AI that uses machine learning models to create new, original content, such as images, text, code, or music, based on patterns and structures learned from existing data.  

Cornell’s preliminary guidelines seek to balance the exciting new possibilities offered by these tools with awareness of their limitations and the need for rigorous attention to accuracy, intellectual property, security, privacy, and ethical issues. These guidelines are upheld by existing university policies.

Accountability

You are accountable for your work, regardless of the tools you use to produce it. When using generative AI tools, always verify the information for errors and biases and exercise caution to avoid copyright infringement. Generative AI excels at applying predictions and patterns to create new content, but since it cannot understand what it produces, the results are sometimes misleading, outdated, or false.

Confidentiality and Privacy

If you are using public generative AI tools, you cannot enter any Cornell information, or another person's information, that is confidential, proprietary, subject to federal or state regulations, or otherwise considered sensitive or restricted. Any information you provide to public generative AI tools is considered public and may be stored and used by anyone else.

As noted in the University Privacy Statement, Cornell strives to honor the Privacy Principles: Notice, Choice, Accountability for Onward Transfer, Security, Data Integrity and Purpose Limitation, Access, and Recourse.

Use for Education and Pedagogy

Cornell is encouraging a flexible framework in which faculty and instructors can choose to prohibit, to allow with attribution, or to encourage generative AI use. In addition to the CU Committee Report: Generative Artificial Intelligence for Education and Pedagogy delivered in July 2023 and resources from the Center for Teaching Innovation, check with your college, department, or instructor for specific guidance.  

Tools and Use for Research, Administration, and Other Purposes

By the end of 2023, Cornell is aiming to offer or recommend a set of generative AI tools that will meet the needs of students, faculty, staff, and researchers, while providing sufficient risk, security, and privacy protections.

The use of generative AI for research and administration purposes must comply with the guidelines of the forthcoming reports from the university committees for research and administration. The reports are scheduled to be published by the end of 2023.

For those seeking to purchase generative AI tools or subscriptions in advance of those guidelines and recommendations, the IT Statement of Need process is required.

Recommended Resources

Cornell AI Initiative

Cornell University AI for Science Institute

Center for Teaching Innovation: Generative AI

CU Committee Report: Generative Artificial Intelligence for Education and Pedagogy

AI Questions, Concerns, Needs, or Ideas?

Contact AI at Cornell

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