London Futurists

GPT-4 transforming education, with Donald Clark

June 08, 2023 London Futurists Season 1 Episode 42
London Futurists
GPT-4 transforming education, with Donald Clark
Show Notes

The launch of GPT-4 on 14th March has provoked concerns and searching questions, and nowhere more so than in the education sector. Earlier this month, the share price of US edutech company Chegg halved when its CEO admitted that GPT technology was a threat to its business model.

Looking ahead, GPT models seem to put flesh on the bones of the idea that all students could one day have a personal tutor as effective as Aristotle, who was Alexander the Great’s personal tutor. When that happens, students should leave school and university far, far better educated than we did.

Donald Clark is the ideal person to discuss this with. He founded Epic Group in 1983, and made it the UK’s largest provider of bespoke online education services before selling it in 2005. He is now the CEO of an AI learning company called WildFire, and an investor in and Board member of several other education technology businesses. In 2020 he published a book called Artificial Intelligence for Learning.

Selected follow-ups:

Topics addressed in this episode include:
*) "Education is a bit of a slow learner"
*) Why GPT-4 has unprecedented potential to transform education
*) The possibility of an online universal teacher
*) Traditional education sometimes fails to follow best pedagogical practice
*) Accelerating "time to competence" via personalised tuition
*) Calum's experience learning maths
*) How Khan Academy and DuoLingo are partnering with GPT-4
*) The significance of the large range of languages covered by ChatGPT
*) The recent essay on "The Age of AI" by Bill Gates
*) Students learning social skills from each other
*) An imbalanced societal focus on educating and valuing "head" rather than "heart" or "hand"
*) "The case against education" by Bryan Caplan
*) Evidence of wide usage of ChatGPT by students of all ages
*) Three gaps between GPT-4 and AGI, and how they are being bridged by including GPT-4 in "ensembles"
*) GPT-4 has a better theory of physics than GPT 3.5
*) Encouraging a generative AI to learn about a worldview via its own sensory input, rather than directly feeding a worldview into it
*) Pros and cons of "human exceptionalism"
*) How GPT-4 is upending our ideas on the relation between language and intelligence
*) Generative AI, the "C skills", and the set of jobs left for humans to do
*) Custer's last stand?
*) Three camps regarding progress toward AGI
*) Investors' reactions to Italy banning ChatGPT (subsequently reversed)
*) Different views on GDPR and European legislation
*) Further thoughts on implications of GPT-4 for the education industry
*) Shocking statistics on declining enrolment numbers in US universities
*) Beyond exclusivity: "A tutorial system for everybody"?
*) A boon for Senegal and other countries in the global south?

Music: Spike Protein, by Koi Discovery, available under CC0 1.0 Public Domain Declaration