Online searches for ‘ai essay writing’ skyrocket 2,041%, as educators fear widespread cheating on exams

Google trends analysis found that searches for ‘ai essay writing’ hit a massive high of 2,041% in December compared to the last five years. These findings emerge as a recent Guardian report reveals that a lecturer has found one fifth of submitted University essays have detected bot assistance from AI programs such as ChatGPT.


The analysis of Google trends data was done by online tool specialists at Tiny Wow who discovered the spike. The soaring interest in artificial intelligence is taking place amid the release of AI tool ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer).

Tiny Wow also found that online searches for ‘ai’ hit an all-time worldwide high, jumping 159% in December compared to any other year since 2004. The spike begins to climb just after the November 30th release date of the software where in the five days following this, one million users signed up to ChatGPT. The possible negative and positive impacts of the software are explored below. 

What is ChatGPT?


ChatGPT is a form of generative AI, artificial intelligence that can generate ideas and create content. ChatGPT comes from OpenAI, the creators of DALL-E 2, the text-to-image AI software that makes images from simple text inputs. ChatGPT is a conversational chatbot that interacts with users with the ability to ask follow-up questions, challenge incorrect premises and reject inappropriate requests. Users can ask the software to write, summarise, and paraphrase text in any style, write code, and more.


OpenAI claims that its goal is to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole. However, there is reason to ask at what point does generative AI pose a threat to the education system? 


What are the potential negative impacts of ChatGPT?


  • Plagiarism: Users of ChatGPT quickly discovered the potential of the technology as a means to assist in various tasks, very quickly. For example, a student asks ChatGPT to summarise a text or write an essay on any topic, and the results are presented in seconds. There is a clear interest in students looking to AI for essay help.The essay writing abilities of ChatGPT are so efficient, comprehensive and coherent that students across the world could be utilising this to do their homework for them essentially. The worry from educators is that ChatGPT and other AI software could have a negative impact on student learning and could see the end of homework altogether. If new AI technology can evade anti-plagiarism software, then pen-and-paper exams and coursework may be the future for students.



  • Writing malware: ChatGPT may be utilised to produce malware and facilitate hackers with cyber-attacks. According to dark web forums, some users of the software have used the AI tool to create ransomware by asking ChatGPT to create python scripts that are designed to decrypt and encrypt. With time, this could lead to cyber criminals running extortion campaigns. Simply put, cybercriminals could take data hostage and extort victims for money.


What are the potential positive impacts of ChatGPT?



  • Update education systems: As mentioned above, plagiarism is a possible worry to educators, but rather than seeing generative AI as a danger to education, it could be used as an opportunity tomakeover the current education systems in place that may be overdue for an update. Teachers could even utilise the software to engage students creatively; for example, a teacher could use ChatGPT to create engaging writing prompts for students to respond to. This change could be a positive step towards encouraging critical thinking in the classroom.


  • Improve business customer service and content: ChatGPT’s ability to converse and respond to human input can be utilised by businesses dealing with customer requests. The improved customer experience could increase customer loyalty to the brand. 


Chat GPT could also be used to create content for a businesses website, or even write articles. This tool could save a business much time and money spent on personnel. 


 A spokesperson from Tiny Wow commented on the findings:


“The increased interest in AI technology is sure to have an impact on education, businesses and the general public. Utilising this incredible tool should be done so with caution, as the temptation to let an intelligent software do the work for you can open you up to potential risks of plagiarism or presenting inaccurate facts.” 


Amazon launches the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge to help young people bridge the skills gap, as research shows demand for jobs that require computer science, AI or machine learning skills are expected to increase by 40% over the next five years


Amori, Hannah, Maya, Deborah and Erika,l all in Year 8, from Prendergast Ladywell School pictured at Amazon’s Jobs Fair of the Future event, marking the launch of the ‘Alexa Young Innovator Challenge’, an AI-inspired educational programme for secondary school pupils, at their offices in London. New research reveals that computer science and AI related roles could contribute £71 billion a year to the UK economy. Photo credit: Matt Crossick/PA Wire.


London, 8 November 2022 – Amazon has launched the inaugural Alexa Young Innovator Challenge, an educational programme for secondary school students aged 13 – 18 to create an Alexa Skill to promote social good in their community. Designed to inspire young people about the potential of AI, teachers and educators will be able to access free curriculum-linked lesson plans and materials to engage students, while supporting the development of AI learning in UK classrooms. By taking part, schools will have the chance to win prizes, including £2,500 worth of tech products for the winner and a £2,500 donation to their school. The 20 runners up will also receive an Amazon gift card to the value of £250, redeemable on and £500 will be donated to their school.


New research – commissioned by Amazon from YouGov – found that currently, 79% of STEM teachers have limited access to AI resources and 64% to computer science resources in general, highlighting the real difficulties schools face when trying to engage students in this vital field. Of the 72% of secondary school teachers surveyed who agree that schools should be making an active effort to increase education and resources around AI and computer science, three quarters (75%) say that without this, there will be long-term skill gaps.


YouGov’s research showed strong support for boosting AI learning in UK schools among secondary school teachers, students and parents, with 65% of secondary school teachers agreeing that AI should be part of their school’s syllabus, and 87% of the UK STEM teachers surveyed believing access to free AI and computer science learning resources linked with the national curriculum would help students better engage in computer science. 69% of all secondary school teachers believe that education in computer science better prepares students for future careers in all sectors.


By taking part in the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge, students will be able to explore the possibilities of using AI to help solve societal issues ranging from climate change and healthcare, to poverty and homelessness. Winners will be selected in two age categories, together with 20 runners-up, by judges including Technology Director at Amazon and UK Ambassador for Amazon Future Engineer, Lauren Kisser; YouTuber and computing graduate Tobi Brown, who is a member of The Sidemen; TV presenter and STEM education advocate, Carol Vorderman MBE; computer scientist and entrepreneur Professor Sue Black; and maths and computing prodigy, and Stemettes founder, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon.


Chris Hillidge, Director of STEM at The Challenge Academy Trust said: “This competition is an amazing opportunity for students to engage with coding in a real-world context and use ‘tech for good’. Coding in a real world context is a valuable learning opportunity for young people and the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge gives young people to influence the world around them in a positive way.”


AI is ‘science fiction’ to one in three secondary school children


Teaching AI in secondary schools will also help the almost half (46%) of secondary school children surveyed who said they would like to know more about careers using computer science and AI. One third (33%) of secondary school children surveyed said they have only heard of AI in science fiction movies and literature.


To help remedy this, Amazon is also offering virtual Class Chats with schools across the UK, where Amazon leaders and current apprentices will share insights from their education, career journey, and discuss the future potential of AI with teachers and students. This comes as research reveals that 82% of secondary school teachers believe their students would be more interested in AI and computer science if they had the opportunity to speak to industry leaders in these sectors.


Youtuber Tobi Brown and Amazon’s Lauren Kisser pictured with students from Prendergast Ladywell School at Amazon’s Jobs Fair of the Future event, marking the launch of the ‘Alexa Young Innovator Challenge’, an AI-inspired educational programme for secondary school pupils, at their offices in London. New research reveals that computer science and AI related roles could contribute £71 billion a year to the UK economy. Image courtesy of Matt Crossick/PA Wire.


Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon said of her involvement:Supporting women in accessing resources and information to help them consider careers in STEM has always been my number one priority. The tech revolution never stops and we know that AI is going to be a vital part of the future of the industry so it’s great to see an initiative like the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge identifying this and looking to help inspire the kids of today, who will be our future scientists and technologists. I am passionate about the role of creativity and imagination in technology and development, and I think showing kids what tomorrow’s world of work could look like does exactly this.”


The launch of the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge reinforces Amazon’s commitment to support the education and skills development of learners from all backgrounds. It forms part of Amazon Future Engineer – Amazon’s comprehensive childhood-to-career programme that inspires, educates and enables children and young adults to realise their potential in computer science through bursary schemes, teacher training, and online tutorials. Since launching in 2019, Amazon Future Engineer has reached over 280,000 students across the UK.


AI is the world’s fastest growing technology[i] and the UK is striving to be among the world’s leaders in this field, with 56% of businesses planning to increase investment in AI technologies within the next three years,[ii]” said Lauren Kisser, Technology Director at Amazon and UK Ambassador for Amazon Future Engineer. “Through the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge, we hope to not only build confidence in students’ ability to understand and control this incredible technology but also inspire young minds, regardless of their background, to realise their potential as creators, thinkers and builders of the future; using AI to create innovative solutions to real world problems.”


For further information about the Alexa Young Innovator Challenge visit



[ii] Amazon Future Engineer, September 2022, Capital Economics


Capital Economics methodology
This research has been commissioned by Amazon from Capital Economics, an independent macroeconomics research consultancy. The views expressed remain those of Capital Economics and are not necessarily shared by Amazon. While every effort has been made to ensure that the data quoted and used for the research behind this document is reliable, there is no guarantee that it is correct, and Capital Economics Limited and its subsidiaries can accept no liability whatsoever in respect of any errors or omissions. This document is a piece of economic research and is not intended to constitute investment advice, nor to solicit dealing in securities or investments.


Based on official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Capital Economics has used a broad definition of ‘computer science related’ jobs to estimate the number of computer science related jobs in the UK economy and their contribution to economic output. A range of data and projections on demographics, the labour market, economic growth and adoption of technology have been used to generate estimates of future demand for computer science roles.


YouGov parents, secondary school teachers and secondary school pupils survey

All UK parent, UK secondary school teachers and UK secondary school pupils figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2031 teachers (1,792 secondary school teachers and 239 headteachers), 1,079 teenagers aged 13-18, and 1,002 parents of children aged 18 and under. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd – 21st September 2022.  The survey was carried out online.











‘More data does not equal better data’ Arfan Ismail, PhD, Product Manager, Education Software Solutions July 2022

A recent report from Deloitte found that as of 2020, 97% of companies were either already using AI or had plans to use it in the short term. Importantly, the report bears out a key trend: the use of data and advanced machine learning has become ubiquitous in industry generally. Yet somehow in education, policy decisions are still predicated on meta-analysis and generalised data – the former essentially synthesizing numerous studies to find statistically significant relationships.

Amongst the most well known in education are the studies of John Hattie whose oft-cited work is used as justification at both systemic policy, individual school and class level. The problem with amalgamating data sets in this way is that what works in one context doesn’t necessarily work in another. Let me provide one example of this. In answer to the question ‘does the competence of the school principal have a significant impact on student outcomes?’, Robert Marzano, in his best-selling text School Leadership that Works explains how initial findings from their meta-analysis found the strength of correlation varied. They had to remove non-American studies from their cohort of studies for the relationship to become significant, perhaps due to the extra training and qualifications held by school principals in America. What’s the lesson here? Context matters! The more localized the data, the better it is. When researching schools and education, what works in a school in London may not necessarily work for a school in Newcastle. This is where the need for better data becomes paramount.

What then does effective use of data look like in an educational context, be that at policy, regional, local authority, multi academy trust or school level? This is a question that management information systems providers (should) understand better than most and are currently tackling head on. Indeed, from our initial research, it is clear that schools do a great job in collecting data and that there are yet more opportunities to use this data even more effectively. So, what would a data-infused education system look like and how can we work to make this a reality?

As someone with a long-standing interest in data what is clear to me is that more data does not equal better data. In fact, providing more data can lead to worse outcomes if it leads to attention being focused on the wrong thing. Not every statistical relationship between intervention and outcomes matters. We have finite resources and these need to be focused on doing those things that have the largest impact on student outcomes.

For example, research from Fazıla Duyan and Rengin Ünver found that classrooms with purple walls are better at holding student attention than red coloured walls. Does that mean we should head down to the nearest B&Q and buy shed loads of purple paint and start redecorating our classrooms? Probably not. We need to prioritise our focus on those interventions, the things we do to make education better, that have a high return on investment (RoI), where the effect on outcomes is more pronounced. In order to do that we really do need a better handle on the data and better ways of analysing that data.

The way industries generally tackle the problem of working out how spending relates to RoI is through the utilisation of artificial intelligence – and more specifically machine learning – to mine the data and look for those key factors, predictors, that cause one thing to lead to another. The interest is not in correlations here, interesting though they might be, but rather on causation, something more difficult to fathom. That’s why we need the help of machines to do this in education. It’s simply too complex for the human mind to do this at scale or at an individual school and pupil level. Human beings, custodians of consciousness and complex cognitive abilities, are not easy to understand. Artificial Intelligence can help us do just that.

Joseph Aoun, President of Northeastern University, in his book Robot-proof, suggests that the key to an effective use of AI is to marry the creative ability of humans to understand and identify problems with the ability of the machines to process, synthesis and analyse the data to help solve these problems. This is the approach we are taking at Education Software Solutions (ESS) as we take our first steps on a journey to transform the way schools use data to keep children safe and improve student outcomes. Our initial focus is on predictive and then prescriptive analytics for persistent absence. We have begun this journey by spending a considerable amount of time listening to our customers to understand what their key underlying challenges are when it comes to data and what problems they are trying to solve, so we can create data products that help solve these problems.

Educators are constantly placed under a significant cognitive load. Through leveraging data engineering, data-science and education experience, as well as expertise and passion to improve student outcomes, data reporting software that delivers intelligent insights can be built. This will add significant value to Multi-academy trusts, schools and other educational establishments. Great implementations of AI transform general transactions to idiosyncratic ones. Education is a perfect use-case for the implementation of machine learning so each child receives the specific, personal interventions and support that will help them remain safe and achieve their very best. This is the future we, at ESS, are committed to delivering. Our collective journey with our valued customers has begun.



7th October 2022 at ExCeL London

New Scientist Live, the world’s greatest festival of ideas and discoveries, returns to ExCeL London next month and will be hosting a dedicated day for schools, for the first time, with an incredible line-up of speakers, interactive demonstrations and more!

The presentations, features and experiences are specifically tailored for Key Stages 2 (upper), 3 & 4, giving students a unique opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom and bring the world of STEM to life.  The show will connect students with leading-edge researchers and give them the knowledge to engage with the scientific, social and ethical challenges that will shape the world of the future.


Highlights include:

  • World-class science presenter Stefan Gates whose presentation will be packed with explosions and will explore combustion, pressure, sound, elasticity, energy storage, pressure and sound. Expect mini-motorbikes, massive balloons, fireballs and flamethrowing on the Universe Stage!
  • Filmmaker Simon Clark on the Mind & Body Stage discussing how he became a YouTube scientist starting from his A level choices to submitting his PhD thesis, as well as the lessons he learned along the way
  • Palaeontologist David Hone featuring on the Planet Stage and discussing why the Tyrannosaurs rex is the most dangerous terrestrial predator of all time.
  • Tech wiz Rob Sedgebeer and Steve McNeil who will be presenting an interactive history of some of the earliest advances in videogames so make sure you bring a charged smartphone to play along on the Future Stage
  • J Spooner on the Engage Stage with a special guest in the space shed for interactive, intergalactic, mind-blowing fun!

Students can immerse themselves in the latest tech developments, from surgical robots to augmented reality, Artificial Intelligence to VR, and see how the latest medical innovations are being used by world-class clinicians to improve diagnosis and treatment. One feature not to be missed is the immersive pop-up planetarium where you can see what it takes to become an astronaut and let the inspiration take you to new places that you could never have imagined.

With VR rollercoaster rides to piloting a virtual drone, seeing inside an artificial star to smelling space, New Scientist Live features an unbelievable experience for everyone.

A proportion of the Schools’ Day tickets will be made available for free to schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged students and schools with lower science capital ensuring that science is accessible to the widest possible audience and to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and leaders.



Schools day tickets prices: £12 per student, with one free chaperone ticket available for each group of ten students.


Early booking ticket prices: Children £16 | Adults: £40 | Family ticket: £100 (ends 11thSeptember)

Tickets available for either Saturday 8th or Sunday 9th October, or you can save more by booking for the whole weekend.

For more information and ticket options click here

For the Schools’ Day programme visit –


Friday 7 October (Schools only) – 09.30-15.00

Saturday 8 October – 10:00-17:00

Sunday 9 October – 10:00-17:00


ExCeL London

Royal Victoria Dock

One Western Gateway

London E16 1XL

UK explores how education must adapt for tomorrow’s world at ‘In the Future… How will we Learn?’


9th November 2021 – How can we prepare for AI in learning? What does the classroom of the future look like? How do we educate children for the needs of the 21st century? These are some of the questions being discussed by leading figures from the world of education during ‘In the Future… How will we Learn?’, taking place in the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and online from 9-11th December, under the UK’s participation theme ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’.


Participants are invited to join all three days of Summit sessions online from wherever they are in the world through a virtual platform while De Montfort University, Founding Partner of the UK at Expo 2020 Dubai, which has recently opened a new campus in Dubai, will also host sessions in-person on the Pavilion on 11th December.


The speakers, who will be contributing both in-person and virtually, include Andria Zafirakou, 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner, who will chair a summit asking ‘What makes teachers great?’. Helen Grant MP, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Education will be chairing a discussion on why girls’ education matters globally. Professor Sir Steve Smith, UK Government International Education Champion and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative to Saudi Arabia for Education will also chair a session focused on the future of higher education which will include Professor Katie Normington, Chief Executive & Vice Chancellor, De Montfort University.


Other experts chairing summits and contributing to broader activity during ‘In the Future, How will we Learn?’ include:

  • Alison Watson MBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Class of Your Own
  • Brajesh Panth, Chief of Education Group at the Asian Development Bank
  • Antara Ganguli, Head of United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI)


Laura Faulkner OBE, UK Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai, says: “Never has it been more important to examine how global education needs to adapt to equip our children for tomorrow’s world. The UK Pavilion’s Education Programme will be exploring the big questions of the 21st century, such as what the classroom of the future will look like, the role of the teacher and AI in learning.”


Earlier in the week as part of the programme of events, UK at Expo 2020 Dubai Founding Partner HSBC hosted the final of its NextGen10 competition. Supporting Partner Heriot-Watt University also hosted a Future Skills Conference, addressing key themes encompassing, purposeful education, the role of education in transforming economies and addressing global challenges, current and emerging talent needs and building entrepreneurial mindsets.


To register for your interest in attending the ‘How will we Learn?’ programme of activity, in-person or virtually, please register online. If you missed any of the programme you can catch up on our events and find out more about the UK’s activities at Expo 2020 with our new Virtual Pavilion which will be updated throughout Expo 2020.


Join the conversation at @UKPavilion2020 #Expo2020