Are you as amazed by the new iterations of GPT-3, as I am? Well, I’ve been playing around for a little while, and it’s amazing what you can already do with it. It kinda feels like a little child who is starting to walk, and you’re impressed how well they’re already doing. But this whole new AI-Software really made me think a lot about the implications it may have on society and education.
In this article, I want to share some of my thoughts through a societal lens.
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For example, ChatGPT can already do lots of incredible things, writing scripts, giving you cooking recipes, writing some of your homework, coming up with marketing plans and so on. I’ve tried different scenarios, and it did a great job so far. Some things haven’t been very original, but depending on the task, it may be enough. Even works in German too. This technology could skyrocket productivity for different company departments. Coding Problems? Company Blogs? This may be problems from the past. Right now, this technology is freely available for everyone, and we just have to wait and see if it stays like that.
But, let’s say, it stays like that. What should people still learn in the future? Our education system is based on memorizing facts. This system already got hit with the arrival of the smartphone and having a search engine at your fingertips, where you already could find tons of information in seconds. With the new AI, you can get even more concrete solutions to your questions. In an information ecology like that, is the current system doomed?
Students can easily cheat their way through homework and tests by using the internet. Sure, you can block the websites or forbid the usage of some software. But let’s be honest, the genie is out of the bottle and there is no way of getting it back in. The shit’s here and it will stay. So, one way or another, we have to learn to live and work with it and use it responsibly.
Education, needs to change, now more important than ever. Otherwise, too many years will be lost by learning things, everybody already has on their fingertips. I think we need to change the focus more onto soft skills and learning to think right. Let me explain this a little further.
Media Literacy Training
First, Kids and Adults also need comprehensive media literacy training. They need to know what they’re doing with the smartphone, with the computer, and how those things work. What kind of thinking is behind the Social Media System, or behind games? How do they take advantage of the users? Keyword: The Social Dilemma. This needs to be in every future curriculum. Already, too many kids are hooked up to TikTok and Instagram Reels, and spending countless hours on useless content.
Inner Development Goals
Second, with the sharp increase of technology, I feel like we’re losing touch to ourselves, to our heart and to our soul. We’re bombarded with opportunities for dating, work, leisure time… Everywhere are hot models, beautiful faces, everyone is doing their work better than you, everyone has a better holiday, and so on. You get the point. It takes a whole set of grounded values, to withstand all the temptations and the toxic environment. And not only that. Now with the rise of AI, a lot of people could soon be replaced by it. For example, I’m pretty sure you know some people, who are dedicated to their work, where their work is their life. They identify with their work. And now some huge technological improvement came along the way and may be putting them out of work. This could pull their feet beneath their ground and put them in misery. That’s why I’m rooting for a deep understanding of one's self. To find your values, which are important to you, and to find your lifelong goals. Technology may change, but your values are not.
So this is why I’m urging for an education change, where you try to explore your inner self and focus towards your inner development goals.
We need to foster the habit of systems thinking. A lot of misery in our world is dedicated to our bad problem-solving. It mostly works like this:
“We identified Problem A — now we need to do Solution B, and everything will be fine”, but in this problem-solving process, we rarely discuss 2nd, or 3rd order effects of our acting. Especially in a world which is getting complexer by the day, our acting has impacts in a lot of different ways. This is where systems thinking should be practised regularly. First, we need to thoroughly think through a problem. We need to understand every part of it. As the quote goes from Charles Kettering: “A problem fully understood, is a problem half solved.”
Systems thinking is a sensitivity to the circular nature of the world we live in; an awareness of the role of structure in creating the conditions we face; a recognition that there are powerful laws of systems operating that we are unaware of; a realization that there are consequences to our actions that we are oblivious to. (by Michael Goodman)
If we could, expand the range of choices available for solving an issue by broadening our thinking and helping us articulate issues in new and different ways. At the same time, the principles of systems thinking make us aware that there are no perfect solutions; the choices we make will have an impact on other parts of the system. By applying this, we may get a better understanding of our world and our environment.
Through the vicious circle of social media platforms, most of the people (me included) are already caught in some part of echo chamber. We get fed with information that we like, and we agree with. We’re not exposed to content that disagree with our world-view, so we walk down the rabbit hole everyday further. Furthermore, we already could see it during Covid, that discussions about certain topics were almost impossible. Friendships ended, people got fired, because we couldn’t find common ground any more. This is horrible. We need to accept, that there are a lot of different opinions out there, and we need to live with them. We’re all on the same planet, that's why we need to start meaningful discussions again. In school, we could foster such behaviour by teaching kids to keep asking deeper questions, let them stay curious, and by not judging others with different opinions.
So by changing the education towards more to soft skills, learning more about media, getting the inner development goals right, trying to add some systems thinking to our thought process and having meaningful discourse again. I think we could head towards a better society and may be more capable of dealing with the ongoing technologization.
What did I forget? I’m really looking forward to some feedback. If you have any questions, leave a comment or send me a mail. Thanks!