When AI Invades Education, Will We Need Teachers?

Image via MidJourney

While, per Betteridge’s law of headlines, the answer to the above question will eventually be “Yes,” as creative managers should we be bringing AI into the training session or classroom?

I bring this up because of OpenAI’s recent partnership with Common Sense Media. The partnership brings the AI giant into alignment with Common Sense’s goal of ranking media and tools by age range. In an Axios story, we learn they will “initially partner on various AI guidelines and education materials as well as collaborating to curate a family-friendly section of OpenAI’s new GPT Store based on Common Sense’s ratings and standards.”

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First, we have to admit that AI is now part of the curriculum, whether teachers know it or not. Barring those endlessly wonky AI-detecting tools, teachers have no recourse if students use AI to do homework or write essays. The same can be said for creative professionals who, once upon a time, took college classes on technical writing and are now simply asking ChatGPT to translate a manual for a lawnmower by simply pasting the lawnmowers specs and instruction sheet.

But if AI can do it all for us quickly, where does that leave education? While we can point to the calculator replacing the slide rule as a great leap forward in education and engineering, we still learn basic math in school and use our calculators when we have to do something fiddly. The same should be true of education in AI era. In order to know if an AI’s output is good or bad, we need base knowledge of grammar and spelling (for text), programming and engineering (for code), or design and aesthetics (for images). A future student asking ChatGPT, “what name of green lady in newyork” isn’t going to work. In short, a lot of the old education system will be modified, not erased.

The same goes for training. While it’s fun to imagine an AI telling us about bookkeeping, the human will always have a place. The human can show us how to use the abilities AI affords, and that is why it is vital to maintain at least a few teachers and trainers in every organization. Plus: AIs can’t eat apples.

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