I've been playing around with OpenAI's ChatGPT, which, and according to OpenAI, is trained to interact in a conversational way with the user (e.g. you and me). And, boy howdy, it's quite impressive.
ChatGPT's ability to, more-or-less, "have a conversation" with a user highlights the impact and importance of AI literacy moving forward.
Loose Definition: AI literacy, among other similar but varying definitions, refers to the ability to understand how AI works, its strengths and limitations, and how it can be used to solve problems. To add to this, I believe an integral aspect of AI literacy is being able to grasp and appreciate the implications of AI's outputs based on its inputs. In other words, what values and biases are embedded in the AI model and how can we mitigate them?
AI literacy is not, and will not be, just for the engineers, scientists and researchers. Similar to how having a basic understanding of how computers and the internet works is important for everyone, so too will AI literacy be important for everyone.
In other words, AI literacy will be a core competency for everyone in society otherwise folks will be left behind and existing inequities will only be exacerbated, especially if we (collectively) neglect to address the ethical implications of AI.
There are a lot of opportunities to teach AI literacy in schools, universities and other institutions. To make this happen, I believe that educators and educational institutions will have to ask some hard, critical questions, like,
what's the purpose of education, college, etc.?,
what's our role as educators,
how can we prepare students for the future — a future with AI?,
what will our policy be on students using AI in the classroom?, etc.
According to ChatGPT (and its current training inputs):
Overall, the role of higher education is to provide advanced knowledge, conduct research, offer professional training, and serve as a resource for the community..
In this light, let's say AI is capable of offering advanced knowledge, research and professional training, and if people can access AI outside of today's formal education institutions, how will the role of higher education be redefined, if at all, as AI continues to advance in 2023 and beyond?
I'm intrigued by how this will play out and motivated to participate in the conversation and solutions with the community, educational institutions and others.