Pearson takes on ChatGPT in its own game

Pearson, a FTSE 100 educational publishing company, has fought back against AI’s potential threats by integrating ChatGPT style tech into its products. Students can use this technology to summarize book content and create practice tests.

Teachers have expressed concerns that generative AI is being used for plagiarism, to pass exams, and to disrupt the current educational system.

Pearson’s decision to embrace AI by using its own textbooks, information and data before the US returns to school is a move to protect its intellectual property and to capitalise in an ever-changing world.

Publishers are concerned about the possible threat of copyright and want to prevent their information being used by chatbots trained by technology companies without their permission.

There is also the concern that chatbots could be used as a substitute for textbooks or other ways of learning. Pearson’s share prices were lowered by 15% after a competitor, Chegg, claimed that ChatGPT had an impact on the new customer growth rate.

The information that powers the technology makes it “intelligent”, so it’s very valuable. Andy Bird, Pearson’s chief executive, said on Monday that the technology would become increasingly important for the company over time.

This announcement was part of the company’s half-year results. The results showed that currency fluctuations and growth in English language education and its Assessment division drove up sales by 5%, to £1.9billion. The company’s adjusted operating profit was £250 million (up 44%), and £60 million came from the cost-cutting program.

Pearson, which was one of the top performing stocks on the FTSE100 in last year’s results, has experienced a difficult transition from print media to digital. Pearson admits that it was slow in reacting to the new ways students engage with course material. Bird, who became chief executive in 2020 after serving as Walt Disney chairman, has repositioned the company as a tech company. He is interested in using technologies such as virtual reality and metaverse for teaching. The company is also looking at digital tokens and the online ledger, or blockchain, technology to register products and track ownership.

Bird stated: “Our excellent performance during the first half 2023 has given us confidence that we will achieve our full-year expectations.” We are making progress to accelerate our digital transformation, increase interconnectivity, and leverage our AI capabilities, which will allow us to reach a greater number of individuals and businesses with our trusted and proprietary learning content.

Pearson shares fell 5p or 0.6 percent to 864 1/2p by the close.