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NZ education needs to swiftly embrace artificial intelligence

Understanding artificial intelligence and the impact on education is like the 1820 introduction of the calculator for maths, AIForumNZ executive director Madeline Newman says.

People have moved from a world where everything is discoverable such as search engines, to a world where everything is knowable with tools such as ChatGP meaning we are on a path to where machines can do just about anything through AI, she says.

“New Zealand’s education system needs to adopt and adapt to this technology at a faster rate so we don’t get left behind.

“Late last year, ChatGPT was launched by OpenAI.  It uses supervised and reinforcement learning to produce a chatbot that closely reflects human language, more so than previous chatbots.

“It can have a conversation with you, write essays, compose songs and lyrics, and write code. Although it sounds intelligent, it’s not always factually correct – but can sound convincing even when its wrong. This will have the same impact on content production that the calculator had on the ways we learn maths.

“Because ChatGPT can produce essays, it poses a threat to how we approach assessments in schools, teach writing, and produce learning materials.

“While there are new tools to filter and identify plagiarism in students’ work through various software, the way we teach and assess students will need to change.

“Banning this technology while relying on screens in classrooms is simply non-sensical given its integration with search engines and everyday tools we use on our tablets and laptops. Teachers will need to know how to use them and how their students can use them most effectively.

“Generative artificial intelligence is relatively new to most people. And with Bing still in an invite-only preview and Google’s Bard still in the testing phase, we’ll likely see and hear plenty about similar services going forward.

“Life is changing. We use google maps for driving. We don’t store spatial maps of where we are going in our heads when an app will give us directions as we drive. We need to incorporate new tech into the ways we teach and learn.”

Newman says there is a good amount of research and number of start-ups based in Aotearoa already looking at the educational use cases and potential problems.

For further information contact AIForumNZ executive director Madeline Newman on 021 274 9778 or NZTech’s media specialist, Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188

NZTech Digital