The Calm Before The Storm

Wednesday, 11:30a.m., National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. More specifically, the week before I’m buried under final papers. Ensconced in my home office, alternating between reading, writing, and watching the Salish Sea flow northward thanks to a southern wind.

All while grooving to a folk/acoustic/electronic vibe compliments of Sylvan Esso, Becky and the Birds (Wondering), the Cowboy Junkies (Sweet Jane), and Helado Negro (Lotta Love).

On the interweb I see a Stephen Marche prediction that artificial intelligence is going to “Kill the Student Essay“. That hits close to home.

“Essay generation is neither theoretical nor futuristic at this point. In May, a student in New Zealand confessed to using AI to write their papers, justifying it as a tool like Grammarly or spell-check: ​​“I have the knowledge, I have the lived experience, I’m a good student, I go to all the tutorials and I go to all the lectures and I read everything we have to read but I kind of felt I was being penalised because I don’t write eloquently and I didn’t feel that was right,” they told a student paper in Christchurch. They don’t feel like they’re cheating, because the student guidelines at their university state only that you’re not allowed to get somebody else to do your work for you. GPT-3 isn’t “somebody else”—it’s a program.”

Marche adds, “It still takes a little initiative for a kid to find a text generator, but not for long.”

Please tell me there’s no way for ChatGPT to replicate my charming personality.

“Kevin Bryan, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, tweeted in astonishment about OpenAI’s new chatbot last week: ‘You can no longer give take-home exams/homework … Even on specific questions that involve combining knowledge across domains, the OpenAI chat is frankly better than the average MBA at this point. It is frankly amazing.’ Neither the engineers building the linguistic tech nor the educators who will encounter the resulting language are prepared for the fallout.”

I resemble that! I’ve been wrongly assuming that my Multicultural Education take-home final exam was text generator proof.

Going forward, I guess I’ll have to require students to pass through a metal detector and write it in-person.

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