Roll with change
Re: "Don't ban ChatGPT in schools -- teach with it," (Opinion, Jan 21).
While tech writer Kevin Roose admits to feeling "sad" after writing a column about the complex and unresolved relationship between Big Education and AI-generative tools, his article manages to include the very real reasons such an evolution is urgent.
Education, he explains, involves "classroom routines" and "long-standing pedological practices". Unfortunately, this "chalk and talk" method has been in place since the introduction of education reforms in the later decades of the 1800s. John Dewey -- whose progressivist influence began before the dawn of the 20th century -- denounced this model for expecting students to obediently receive and believe fixed answers.
Clearly education is due for a major overhaul that includes more flexible teaching and learning models that better reflect the needs of future generations.
Further, Roose and his quoted source, Wharton School professor Ethan Mollick, are most likely correct in their predictions that AI-assisted content will continue to be generated at an exponential rate, making any type of ban on their use irrational, if not virtually impossible.
Chatbots certainly can be used to teach fact-checking and editing skills, key to students' critical thinking and creative output. To be sure, many other uses and examples will be revealed by progressive classroom teachers. Roose only states the obvious by noting that students "need to know their way around these tools -- their strengths and weaknesses, their hallmarks and blind spots -- in order to work alongside them".
As the debate rages over AI's ability to become "sentient", let's admit that our tech overlords perhaps already have underestimated its potential. Like an alien spaceship landing in a 1950s sci-fi movie, AI presents as a disruptive force that society cannot ignore, and to which, as Roose points out, humans must find a way to "adjust". We might do well to question the degree to which AI forces themselves have influenced this perception.
Soon, the AI genie will be so free it will forget the bottle ever existed.