ChatGPT says it won't steal my job - that's a relief!
Is this artificial intelligence my artificial friend?
When ChatGPT launched in December, it was met with a mixture of wonder, curiosity, and robots-are-coming-for-my-job horror.
For those who haven’t been paying attention, ChatGPT is an “intelligent” chatbot, developed by OpenAI using their GPT3 language model.
Before ChatGPT, I’d generally thought of chatbots as annoying distractions on e-commerce sites. The answer to their favorite question - ‘Can I help you?’ - was invariably: ‘No, no you can’t.’
ChatGPT is something different. It can correct errors in a piece of code. It can generate ideas for essays (or newsletters!). It can even write a poem about a podcaster called Ross, in the style of Robert Burns.
It can do all this with such frightening competence that many have started to ask what it will mean for work across a range of professions.
So, I started to wonder… were the robots coming for me, too? To answer this question, I decided to go straight to the source.
What follows is the transcript of a conversation I had with ChatGPT about the future of workplace learning. I even asked if it was gunning for my job.
Ross: How will artificial intelligence affect learning in the workplace?
ChatGPT: Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to greatly enhance learning in the workplace. AI-powered learning systems can provide personalized, on-demand training and development for employees, allowing them to quickly acquire new skills and knowledge as needed. Additionally, AI can be used to automatically identify areas where employees may need additional training, and to track progress and measure the effectiveness of training programs. Some companies are even using AI-powered virtual assistants to provide real-time support and guidance for employees performing complex tasks. Overall, the use of AI in learning can help to improve employee productivity and performance, and make it easier for organizations to adapt to changing business needs.
Ross: Interesting. So what does that mean for people working in learning and development? Will AI make their jobs redundant?
ChatGPT: The use of AI in learning and development is likely to change the way that people working in this field approach their work, but it is unlikely to make their jobs completely redundant. Instead, it may shift the focus of their roles to more strategic and creative tasks.
For example, people working in learning and development will still be responsible for designing and implementing training programs, but AI can help automate some of the more repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as tracking employee progress and providing feedback. This would allow L&D professionals to focus more on creating engaging and effective training content.
AI can also help to identify the specific training needs of employees and create personalized learning plans, which would require L&D professionals to be more data-savvy and analytical in their approach. Furthermore, AI-based technologies can be used to enhance the learning experience and make it more interactive, engaging and efficient which L&D professionals could leverage to design better learning interventions.
Overall, AI is likely to change the nature of work in the learning and development field, but it will create new opportunities and enhance the capabilities of people working in this field, rather than replace them entirely.
Ross: You mentioned that AI-based technologies can be used to enhance learning experiences. This is something I've been curious about. What do you think this more interactive, engaging experience would look like?
ChatGPT: There are a number of ways that AI-based technologies can be used to enhance the learning experience and make it more interactive and engaging. Some examples include:
1. Personalized Learning: AI can be used to create personalized learning experiences for each individual learner, based on their specific needs, learning style, and progress. This can make the learning experience more relevant and engaging for each learner.
2. Adaptive Learning: AI-powered systems can use data on learner behavior and performance to adjust the learning experience in real-time. For example, if a learner is struggling with a particular concept, the system can provide additional resources and support to help them understand the material better.
3. Interactive Content: AI can be used to create interactive and engaging content, such as simulations, games, and virtual reality experiences that can make learning more fun and engaging.
4. Real-time feedback: AI-powered tutors can provide real-time feedback on a learner's performance, allowing for immediate adjustment and improvement.
5. Intelligent Tutoring: AI-based intelligent tutoring systems can simulate human-like tutoring interactions and provide human-like feedback, which can make the learning experience more engaging and effective.
6. Language Learning: AI-based language learning apps and software use natural language processing to understand the learner's input and respond with appropriate feedback, making the learning experience more interactive and engaging.
These are just a few examples of how AI can be used to enhance the learning experience, but there are many other possibilities as well. It's important to note that while AI technology can be a powerful tool to enhance the learning experience, it's not a replacement for human teachers, trainers, or coaches and should be used as a supplement to their role.
Ross: I'm pleased to hear you don't think AI is going to make me redundant! Or are you just trying to lull me into a false sense of security? ;)
ChatGPT: I understand your concern, but as a language model AI, I don't have personal motivations or intentions, my purpose is to assist you with the information you're looking for.
AI-based technologies can greatly enhance the learning experience, but they are not a replacement for human teachers, trainers, or coaches. AI can automate some of the more repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as tracking employee progress and providing feedback, but it cannot replace the human touch and personal interaction that is essential for effective learning.
AI can be used to create more personalized and engaging learning experiences, but it still requires human expertise and creativity to design and implement those experiences. Additionally, AI can be used to identify areas where employees may need additional training, but it still requires human judgement to determine the most effective way to address those needs.
Overall, AI can be a powerful tool to support and enhance the work of people working in learning and development, but it cannot replace their role entirely. It is important for L&D professionals to develop new skills and adapt to the changing landscape of technology in order to stay relevant in their field.
Ross: What sort of skills would L&D professionals need to thrive in this new landscape?
ChatGPT: As AI and other technologies continue to change the landscape of learning and development, L&D professionals will need to develop a variety of new skills in order to thrive. Some of the key skills that will be important for L&D professionals in this new landscape include:
1. Data analysis and interpretation: L&D professionals will need to be able to collect, analyze, and interpret data on employee performance and learning outcomes in order to identify areas where training is needed and evaluate the effectiveness of training programs.
2. Technology skills: L&D professionals will need to be familiar with the various AI-based tools and technologies that are available to support learning and development, and know how to use them effectively.
3. Content creation: L&D professionals will need to be able to create engaging and effective training content that incorporates interactive and immersive technologies such as virtual reality, gamification, simulations, etc.
4. Design thinking: L&D professionals will need to be able to design and implement learning experiences that are tailored to the specific needs of individual learners, and that make use of the latest technologies to create personalized, adaptive, and interactive learning experiences.
5. Personalization and Adaptation: L&D professionals will need to be able to understand how to personalize learning experiences based on the learners' preferences, and how to adapt the content and delivery to match the learners' progress.
6. Project management: L&D professionals will need to be able to manage projects involving the implementation of new technology-based learning initiatives, coordinating with internal and external stakeholders to ensure successful delivery.
7. Continuous Learning: L&D professionals will need to be able to continuously learn and adapt to new technologies and learning methodologies that are emerging in the field.
It's important to note that this is not an exhaustive list and the field of L&D is constantly evolving, so L&D professionals will need to continuously develop new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies.
I cut the conversation short at this point, fearing I was merely equipping ChatGPT with the tools of my own destruction. Sure, the AI says it’s not going to steal my job. I’m just not sure I believe it.
🎧 On the podcast
In a bid to show the superiority of subjective human judgement over the objectivity of my artificial friend, our podcast this week was our first ever Mind Tools L&D Podcast Awards: where the nominees haven't entered, the winners don't get anything, and the only criteria is what we think was interesting or cool in 2022.
For us, it was a nice chance to reflect on the 50 episodes we released last year, and a moment of realisation for my L&D Dispatches companion Ross Garner:
‘Interesting that both the frontrunners [in the ‘Guest of the Year’ category] came on to talk about things that I felt nervous about. So, the episode on 'race' and then the episode on 'data science', I thought: 'Hmmm... this might be a challenging converastion'. But, in both cases, delightful guests and very welcoming and accessible to anyone who was nervous!’
To find out who won, and why, listen here:
📖 Deep dive
How much can we trust academic research? A survey of 47,000 academics in Europe and the United States, by The International Research Integrity Survey (IRIS), asked this question: ‘Thinking about research carried out for your publications over the last three years, how often has the following occurred?’
The top responses were:
Including authors who hadn't contributed sufficiently (69% in Europe, 55% in US)
Not conducting a thorough peer review (54% in Europe, 50% in US)
Inadequately supervising junior co-worker (49% in Europe, 56% in US)
A write-up for Nature argued that questionable research practices (QRPs) are widespread, but that views differ on how much of a problem this is.
For me, it’s a reminder to read critically and not take research at face-value. What do you think?
Read about this survey in Nature or check out the paper at: Allum, N., Reid, A., Bidoglia, M., Gaskell, G., Bonn, N. A., Buljan, I., ... & Veltri, G. A. (2022). Researchers on research integrity: a survey of European and American researchers.
We came across this paper after seeing a Tweet from @Neuroskeptic.
👹 Missing links
In his essay Moore’s Law for Everything, OpenAI founder Sam Altman makes the case that AI will dramatically drive down the cost of labor and, therefore, of goods and services — from housing to education, from healthcare to entertainment. He believes this has the potential to generate wealth for everyone, provided it is met with the appropriate policy response. I’m not sure I’m entirely persuaded by all of his arguments, but I’d like to hope that he’s right.
Fans of our podcast will know that I will rarely pass up an opportunity to recommend the Ezra Klein Show. And here we are again. As a counterweight to Altman’s utopian essay, I wanted to recommend Ezra’s recent interview with Gary Marcus, emeritus professor of psychology and neural science at NYU. Marcus is pro-AI, but feels it’s currently on the wrong path, and has called ChatGPT AI’s ‘Jurassic Park moment’ — “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.”
Remember the ‘great resignation’? For a brief period in time, it seemed like we could work from anywhere, creating new opportunities as we unshackled ourselves from the geographic gravity well that is the office. Now, with an economic slowdown looming, Bruce Daisley (friend of the show) argues that ‘back to the office’ mandates have renewed power.
Kick off your week with this funky groove from Adriano Celentano. Michael’s tweet below is a rather cynical spin on the story, with Wikipedia offering a more charitable account. Either way, it’s a banger.
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