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Should schools be worried about ChatGPT?

Ever since the US based company OpenAI released ChatGPT, it has raised concerns about loss of jobs and throws a challenge to conventional eduction. It is an AI model trained on a massive text-based dataset inorder to generate human-like responses to requests from a user.  The answers provided goes beyond standard Wikipedia-like general knowledge material that can be sourced from the net. 

Many commentators are deeply worried at the potential of AI to disrupt traditional activities, with speculation on the future of educational assessments and even recent efforts by New South Wales and Queensland in Australia to try to wind back to the past and ban the use of ChatGPT from school browsers. 

Macquarie University in Australia has informed that its Centre for Applied AI is working with companies and government agencies across various sectors to explore how to use AI to streamline current business practices. 

In Education

In Education, ChatGPT can be used to create draft lesson plans, quizzes and exams, and curricula documents that teachers can then improve upon based on their audience. It could also provide individualised feedback to students on their performance and analyse student data to identify areas where they need further support. 

While Chat GPT and other AI technologies are exceptionally powerful in some areas, they come up short in others. For instance, AI technologies do not predict well in situations where there is little historical data to draw on. They make predictions devoid of context, such as in situations where empathy and inclusiveness need to be key parts of a decision. Their predictions reflect the training data they have been programmed on, with the historical biases and inaccuracies generated by humans in that past, even if social norms have since moved on. As such, to a large extent, AI advances are revealing just what is unique to human capabilities and our societies today that cannot be well replicated by a machine.

There are of course uncertainties about where ChatGPT and generative AI more generally will go from here as they improve over time, and what human capabilities they start to replicate. No one knows the exact form of the future and how the current ways of doing things will be affected by these technologies.

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