By David V. Anderson, PhD
To my K-12 education reform friends and colleagues:
The gist of this message is this: AI will cause the cancellation of homework
And the remedy: Flipped blended education.
So, what do I know about AI, or Artificial Intelligence, that I find worrisome, particularly as it applies to K-12 education? Of those aspects of concern, let me focus on one problem recently in the news:
AI can do your homework, can write your essays, can complete your term papers. The most popular and perhaps most recent system available to users is ChatGPT- a product only 4 months old as of this writing. Give a student homework and you will not know who helped the student complete the assignment because ChatGPT may have helped or done nearly all of it.
To correct this misbehavior, we need the students to be monitored during their work on these assignments. One logical way to do this is to have homework moved to the school setting in which a teacher can be the monitor- as well as help the students accomplish their tasks. This can be accomplished using the flipped blended format of instruction. I discussed this in the Sick Schools book I published in 2020 (pp 252-253). [you can buy it online for $52.00.]
In that same Sick Schools book, I discussed AI relevance to K-12 education (pp 246 – 250). But I didn’t anticipate the urgency for making near term adjustments. Now, I find it urgent.
This former computational physicist has had considerable experience programming various kinds of computers, including so-called supercomputers. One of my interests was the programming of parallel operations in which several processor units calculate different aspects of a program simultaneously. I was part of a team, which produced the fastest physics calculation ever done- circa 1989.
About that same year, actually 1988, I attended a lecture on electronic neural networks in which computers are wired to resemble the mammalian brain. Such artificially intelligent computers generally do not need human programmers, but rather need human teachers to help them perform their tasks. I sometimes say that they program themselves.
Ever seen the movie, Space Odyssey 2001? Remember its onboard very intelligent computer whose name was Hal? (Actually, it was Hal 9000). Was Hal cast and scripted to be artificially intelligent? The answer is “yes.” The screen writer, Arthur C. Clarke, himself an astrophysicist sought an advisor for scripting Hal. And whom did he hire?
He hired Marvin Minsky who was an MIT professor as well as a co-founder of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. This suggests that Hal’s behavior had an AI aspect. When an entity programs itself, there is no assurance that it will obey the humans in its midst.
In the movie, Hal sets about killing the astronauts on the Jupiter bound spaceship. All except Dave Bowman died. Dave saved the day, and his life, by disconnecting the power supply to Hal. He did so when Hal saw his intentions and told Dave, “Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave? Dave, I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it.” And the power supply was breached as Dave unplugged it.
I hope you find this helpful as you pursue education reform.
Dave …(not that Dave)
David V. Anderson, PhD
CEO, ASORA Edication Enterprises. AsoraEducation.com
The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.