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Keeping Up with ChatGPT in Higher Education: Part 1

My intention for this blog series was to start with an introduction to ChatGPT and follow it up with a number of posts. But then I realized that maybe we should start with what AI is and then move to the topic of ChatGPT.

First and foremost, let’s define AI. I like this definition of AI from Eduflow Academy’s William Cronje (LI):

AI is the ability of a computer or machine to think and learn. A single AI program that performs a specific task is called an agent. The type of AI agents we’re accustomed to interacting with right now is what researchers call narrow (or weak) AI. These agents use models to typically outperform humans at very specific tasks like recognizing patterns, reformatting documents, or beating world champions at chess.”

“A more aspirational version of computer intelligence called strong, or general AI, would be able to do any cognitive task better than a human. Think T-1000 or Skynet* 🤖. Thankfully, this level of AI has not been realized yet. Right now, you can’t ask an AI agent, that is only able to recognize patterns, to also assume a robotic body and take over the world. Not yet, at least 😅

* The artificial intelligence found in the game Fallout 2

Sounds a little nerdy but what did you expect? We are talking about Artificial Intelligence afterall!

You may not realize that we are using many types of “narrow” or “weak” AI now and have been for quite a while: Digital voice assistants (Siri, Alexa); Recommendation engines; search engines; Chatbots; autonomous vehicles, image and speech recognition; predictive maintenance and analytics; and robots. To dive deeper check out the Future Tech Trends article “What is Weak (Narrow) AI? Here Are 8 Practical Examples”.  Are you surprised that many of us have been using some if not all of these examples of AI? Pretty amazing on how AI has made its way into our daily lives.

So a sneak peak into the next post: 

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue  November 30, 2022

“We’ve trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer followup questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests. ChatGPT is a sibling model to InstructGPT, which is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response.” OpenAI Yes, more nerds speak!  

Ok here is a less nerdy description: “ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with the chatbot. The language model can answer questions and assist you with tasks, such as composing emails, essays, and code.” ZDNET

So how do we incorporate this AI tool into our daily work flows or instruction? What do our students or ourselves need to be wary of when using ChatGPT?

Check out the next blog post for answers to these and other questions.

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