Everybody and their mama has a ChatGPT post (and here’s mine!)
I’m sure you have probably heard of ChatGPT by now, so I will spare you the explanation. If you haven’t, then Google it and thank me later. Everybody seems to be talking about it, whether they are nervous about how it will change education, or excited because they’ve figured out how to use it for their own nefarious purposes (muhahahahaha). I fall into the latter category.
To be honest, I’m not excited that it exists, but I am excited about how good it is! Stuff like this has been around for years. I first heard about it back in 2015, when I stumbled across an article about AI-written blogs and shared it with my high school technology classes. I played with it a little, and wrote about it in Closing the Gap higher education edition, which I co-wrote with my friends Nicol Howard and Regina Schaffer in 2017–18. (This book is actually my favorite of the series.)
I don’t remember what did or did not make it to the final cut, but I have copied and pasted a subheading here from the first draft:
Earlier this year, students taking a course in Artificial Intelligence at Georgia Institute of Technology discovered that Jill Watson, one of their Teaching Assistants, was an AI creation. ‘Watson’ was able to participate in online forum discussions, answering students’ routine questions, posting reminders about deadlines, and introducing mid-week conversation topics to encourage students to share their thoughts (Holroyd, 2016).
It may seem like something out of a movie, but artificial intelligence is here, and making waves in the field of education. Possibly one of the most interesting examples to date was that of Jill Watson, as mentioned in the anecdote above. Who would have thought that a bot could be a TA at a major university? Who would have ever imagined that, thanks to AI, we could now even automate blog posts? And, who would have guessed that the following paragraph could be written by an AI tool, for free, online in minutes (ai-writer.com):
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the next giant leap in learning and, according to those working in the field of education and technology, we haven’t seen anything yet (Wood, 2016). As with virtual reality, artificial intelligence is still in its early days as an education tool, with minimal adoption in the classroom. But even more so than VR, artificial intelligence could fundamentally change the way we learn (Roepke, 2017).
How do you even cite that? Granted, we did some basic editing, such as adding the in-text citations, although the website provided us with footnotes. Additionally, we edited the sequencing of the text and the AI piecemealed the text verbatim from the sources, but if we knew absolutely nothing about AI in education, we could have a solid foundation for our research, all thanks to typing in the keywords “artificial intelligence” edtech “professional development”. The software did all of the research (for the preceding paragraph, not for the entire book).
Yet another site, Articoolo, provided an even longer article, with tools for checking grammar, style, repetition, and structure. After some revision, the final output read:
Artificial intelligence is predicted to change the nature of society by 2040. While futurist Ray Kurzweil claims AI will help us with the grand challenges facing humankind, Elon Musk warns us that artificial brains will be our greatest existential threat. Others argue that these have the potential for growth. Everything depends upon the way we handle the transition into this AI era. In 2016, the government under President Barack Obama introduced a nationwide strategic plan for artificial intelligence and, although not everyone welcomes this innovation, we still must remain current on how AI develops.
A lot of AI’s possibilities are yet to be seen, but the technology is already managing our lives, from Siri into Netflix recommendations, to automatic air traffic control. Most of us must know how we’re shaped by our tools. An Australian discussion paper on the consequences of AI, automation, and twenty-first-century abilities shows how AI doesn’t only impact blue collar truck drivers and cleaners. It will also affect white-collar attorneys and physicians. Automated pharmacy systems with robots dispensing medication exist, and an automatic farm is opening in Japan. The cumulative effect of these changes will be a radical breakthrough in our lives.
The Oxford Martin School predicts that 47% of employment in the US is at risk of becoming automated. Purdy and Daugherty assert that this is an overestimation and also that the challenge is ensuring sufficient retraining for low qualified employees as new roles will emerge, and demand in some occupations is going to grow. Two decades ago graduation from high school opened the doors to the middle class. The skills now needed to earn a decent living have changed, and high-wage employers are searching for a mix of hard and soft abilities.
The students who entered school this year will graduate by 2030, and will be the workforce of 2040. The extreme changes on the horizon need an approach to education which will provide our current students with the abilities to make the most of the world they’ll be entering. To succeed, they need to be capable of thinking flexibly, creatively, and globally. The competitive edge is now your capability to offer value beyond an algorithm. Education is the key. Even though many of us have even seen headlines predicting that robots will start replacing teachers within the next 10 years, good teachers are never going to become obsolete.
Artificial Intelligence is transforming classes through customizable content, and also tracking and also monitoring diagnostics. AI can automate basic routine work like grading simple tests. Pearson is working on a wide range of online games based on AI. Mindojo is developing algorithms which both teach and also study you to know precisely who you are.
Although Articoolo did not provide a reference list, other services allow the user to customize the results in styles such as APA and MLA. What are the implications for teaching and learning? Even more relevant to this section, what are the implications for professional development? Avery (2017) sums it up nicely by stating that, “AI can fill the gaps in subject areas in which a teacher doesn’t have a particular expertise or help train teachers when there is a skill shortage in the job market, too.” Again, with teachers as lifelong learners, AI and big data tools can help to personalize our own professional learning through analytics. LaPierre (2018) explains,
Similarly to how AI can provide personalized tutoring to students, the technology could offer ongoing professional development for teachers, too! These flexible, AI-driven courses could synthesize data on an educator’s teaching experiences, abilities, and styles, then use this information to provide tailor-made trainings designed specifically to meet that individual’s needs. Using web-enabled mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, educators would have the flexibility to complete these trainings at any time, no matter their present location — that’s right: PD in your PJs.
Since ChatGPT came out, I have used it to write the first and last chapters, as well as the blurb, for EduMatch Snapshot in Education 2022 (will be released in a week and I’ll link the free PDF here when it does). I have also had it help me beef up a book I am writing on podcasting.
This is all very cool. Yesterday, the idea struck me that AI may one day become advanced enough so that it doesn’t need user input. Perhaps one day, AI may decide to start self-publishing books, integrating with services such as Amazon KDP, or perhaps even creating a service of its own. Also, with the rise of AI art (Dall-E) and AI music, there’s nothing to say that AI movies are out of the question one day.
I’m definitely not an expert on anything I’m about to say next…these are just random ideas from a random person. I’ve been reading the [Science] for Babies series with Little One, and have learned a few things, for example, about what quantum computing means. Soooooooo…if and when AI takes the initiative to start creating things (and has the power to do this), what’s to say it won’t create every book, movie, song, etc. that could possibly exist? I don’t necessarily mean this as a negative. This feels kinda multiverse-y, lol. I also wonder what implications this could have on the metaverse.
I’m going to stop here, but this is all very interesting to think about. Thank you for reading all the randomness.