I wanted to offer a few words about the special focus on Artificial Intelligence I intend for this section of ETEC522.
There’s a huge AI buzz on. Deservedly so, IMHO. I’m old enough to remember what the world was like before social media, before mobile phones, before computers and before TV. AI is barely nascent but I expect it will transform humanity more than any of those technologies, probably more than all of them together, and more than any technology ever invented. It will be unprecedented, rapid, relentless and absolutely worthy of our critical attention.
As with previous waves of technology, it’s impossible to predict what AI-driven social, cultural and personal transformations will be. Don’t listen to anyone, or any AI, who claims otherwise. So we’re all in the same boat and, as professional educators, we hold the massive change to the future of learning in our hands.
There’s no cause for panic. Every technology ever invented has had dangerous potentials; our collective responsibility is to mitigate such potentials while exploring prospective benefits. AI is simply a new kind of tool – a tool that can ‘collaborate’. One exciting prospective benefit is how much it might accelerate human creativity. A concern is how much it might restructure the job market (for the first time a tool is emerging that will likely challenge more “white collar” jobs than “blue collar” ones).
From an ETEC522 perspective the rationale for a special focus is that AI will disrupt every existing industry and accelerate every emerging market. The opportunity horizon is sparkling with AI possibility. As our teams explore emerging markets I will ask them to look critically at the AI dimensions of those markets. And whatever topic you select for Assignments #1 and #3, an AI focus there will be expected as well.
Meanwhile, MET is developing a new course focused on AI in Education. Also, I am supervising one of your peers in an ETEC580 Guided Research Project on the impacts of AI on ESL, so any of you wishing to dive deeper into some aspect of AI could also consider an ETEC580 focus.
Finally, UBC has largely shifted responsibility for policies and policing of the use of Artificial Intelligence tools to individual instructors, so here is my policy:
You are highly encouraged to make use of artificial intelligence tools to complete any course work, with the requirement that such use is always clearly and correctly indicated, and that you provide a professional description and assessment of each implementation for the benefit of your instructor and peers. Failute to indicate and describe AI-generated material will be reported as academic misconduct. Please consult your instructor if you have any questions about the use of AI tools.
Thoughts and questions welcome.