Three Things You Can Do With ChatGPT Right Now!
In our recent webinar, ChatGPT in Education, we explored the impact of generative AI systems on the classroom setting.
Today I'll share three things that you, as an educator, can do right now when it comes to generative AI.
What is ChatGPT?
To do that, let's first take a moment to explain what ChatGPT really is.
ChatGPT is part of a family of "large language models," or LLMs. In turn, an LLM is a form of machine learning model. (Sometimes shortened to "ML model," and also known as a predictive model or AI model.)
To "train" an ML model, you let a computer look for patterns in mountains of data. You can then ask the model to make predictions or generate content based on the patterns it found.
An LLM looks for patterns in large collections of text. (Say, the entirety of Wikipedia.) The patterns it finds are based on word order: "word 1 is most often followed by word 2 is most often followed by word 3 ..." and so on.
The key point is that an ML model – even a big, fancy one like an LLM – doesn't really "know" anything about the world. It doesn't have feelings or hold opinions or any of that. It only sees patterns. Everything it "says" is a replay of the patterns it's found.
Even with that limitation, ChatGPT still has its uses.
Three Things You Can Do with ChatGPT Right Now
1. Start talking about it. And learning more about it.
You can read up on it yourself, and encourage your students to do the same. You'll want to get to the facts of what ChatGPT and other LLMs can really do, and what they cannot.
(Bonus: this is an opportunity to test your students' critical thinking skills. Which ChatGPT think-pieces are long on emotions, yet short on facts?)
2. Incentivize your students to use LLMs properly.
LLMs are tools like any other. The technology doesn't show any signs of going away, so we may as well teach students what it means to use them responsibly.
Granted, this may require that you change up your lesson plans a bit. Instead of asking students to write an essay, you could ask them to analyze some text that ChatGPT produced.
3. Try it for yourself!
Why should the students get all the fun? You, too, have access to this machine that can create reams of human-readable text on demand.
If you experiment with ChatGPT, you may find interesting ways to incorporate it and its outputs in the classroom.
It's your turn
How have you and your students used ChatGPT? Let us know in the comments.
Michael S. Manley currently serves as the Chief Technology Officer of ThinkCERCA. In his previous position, he was CTO of Public Good Software, which used machine learning technology to match online news content to relevant social good causes and campaigns. He has worked in software engineering for thirty-five years and is a graduate of Purdue University in both software engineering and English literature.
Q McCallum is a consultant, writer, and researcher in the domain of machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI). He's spent his career applying disruptive technology to business use cases. His published work includes Understanding Patterns of Disruption: Lessons Learned from the Cloud, Machine Learning, and More; Business Models for the Data Economy; Parallel R: Data Analysis in the Distributed World; and Bad Data Handbook: Mapping the World of Data Problems. His current research interests include: The intersection of ML/AI and business models (data monetization, human/AI interaction, AI-based automation); The application of financial concepts (such as risk, N-sided marketplaces, and asset bubbles) to other domains.