"In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man Is King"
AI: Fear Not, Embrace the Change - New Opportunities in Education and Beyond
We don't seem to have reason to fear artificial intelligence. GPT3 chat is overall not much different from an advanced Google with a chat configuration. It seems to be just another optimization tool just like a train, scooter and helicopter are tools that made us get to places faster
There were also concerns and questions about fairness, equality, laziness and human degeneration. Another concern was the tremendous need to rebuild infrastructure such as roads, gas stations and car garages. And with regard to us? In education, you may no longer give grades on the quality of written work, but give feedback in dialogue with the students on the originality of the thought presented in the work and how you direct the machine to write it, similar to how you direct a plane with 350 passengers flying over the atlantic. Or, godforbid, grade the students on the level of discussion and cooperation they presented in class.
But get the scariest thing - is there a possibility where we don't need more schools just as we don't need more carriages and horses for transportation? Is there a possibility where they won't need more taxi drivers because of autonomous vehicles? Is there a possibility where they will no longer need speed bumps on the roads because the vehicle will still slow down on its own? Or maybe there will be fewer vehicles on the roads in the morning anyway because fewer people will travel to the congested population centers?
There is no reason to worry about our livelihood or our lives. We reinvent ourselves as we have done since the dawn of life. People will probably still need to dismantle the deceleration strips from the roads or program the machines to do it. This month, a buzzword for a new profession circulated in dozens of WhatsApp groups of early AI adopters - "the whisperer for (artificial) intelligence". And for our children? They will probably need educators or new neighborhood educational institutions which concentrate on human interactions and less on knowledge marathons. We will probably soon realize that artificial intelligence, like any software, is one more step forward in automation that strengthens tools for human functioning, and in the happy case of educators - technology in the service of pedagogy, artificial intelligence in the service of the learner.
The Frying Pan: AI Learning and Dangers
What is artificial intelligence? Imagine ourselves as children. We once picked up a cold pan that was in the cupboard under the sink. The second time, we touched a boiling pan while it was on the stove and learned our lesson and probably won't do it again. The third time we touched the pan while it was standing next to the sink and again got burned.
This is how we kept some facts for ourselves in the database of our brain: a frying pan may be hot or cold. If steam comes out of it and there is a bubbling noise and cooking smells - it is necessarily hot. Our goal is to survive and be healthy, therefore our instinct which is fed by our sense of sight (image processing) and our sense of hearing (signal processing) and our sense of smell (not yet developed in machines) will choose to avoid contact with a pan that it estimates is hot. What we did is called "learning". The machine does the same in "machine learning". Only that, unlike us, it has no instincts, it only knows what it was told and defined as the goal to learn or what it understands as a worthy goal from all the information fed into it. And there lies the danger - wrong information or unethical inputs of the "what is a worthy goal" for the machine.
Transformative Teaching and Dialogical Evaluation
At the Center for Innovation in Education at Beit Berel College, several field experiments are being conducted to adopt artificial intelligence technologies in the classroom. An experiment done in the English teaching course, students had a dialogue with a machine which adjusts the level of the dialogue according to the level of the learner. The college is also exploring the possibility of cooperation with artificial intelligence companies, including the Israeli startup Leminda AI, which shortens academic articles with the click of a button and extracts insights from them even if they are scanned and inaccessible, and also turns them into short podcasts that students and academics can listen to while driving. In the worlds of text to image (TTI), education students for pre-school children and the English track already "whispered to" Dal-E2 complex situations in their lives and succeeded in creating brochures and illustrations through which they could strengthen the educational messages they wanted to convey to their students. At Beit Berl College they understood that the best way to deal with the progress of technology is not to oppose it, but rather embrace it.. Not to take the phones out of the classrooms and not to be afraid of copying and inventing assignments. Instead , to embrace phones, and to use them in order to leverage the technology approach in the service of pedagogy. Yes, there are dangers of creating unfairness, cheating and inequality and this is assuming that we will continue to evaluate people according to the amount of information they are able to consume and emit on documents. Perhaps the time has come for us to move on to the evaluation of dialogical abilities, something that the future generation of educators at the Bober Center in Beit Berel have been working on for years. In my opinion, soon we will be able to practice our dialogue ability in front of a machine, which does not get tired and does not judge us, and will train us to communicate better with humans.
Unshackling Ourselves from Life's Aquarium
In conclusion, like in the movie "Forrest Gump", we are a little blind. We work hard all our lives, study hard and memorize for hours, swallow anti-stress pills and submit resumes, run to make it to the elevator and pray to sit in a closed glass room on the 60th floor of an exclusive office to look at the beach which is currently the farthest point from us in the city and we are like fish trapped in an aquarium taking selfies of landscape in its most inaccessible configuration. And Forrest Gump? While everyone is thinking about making millions (blind), he (the one eyed man) just wants to mow the lawn and sit on the beach while fishing. Maybe artificial intelligence will bring us back closer to the monkey or at least help us sit down and remember to breathe.
This text was not written by artificial intelligence, or maybe it was?