6 years ago, I published in the columns of Office and Culture an article with the provocative title “What is being human when robots are smarter than us? “. It had aroused some offended and bellicose reactions, not very well argued, however, some being able to console themselves with the definition of intelligence, the content of which everyone can modulate for their own benefit. They could easily decide that we weren’t talking about them. The performance of Artificial Intelligence is changing the game.
50% of students from a major French engineering school have just written their end-of-studies dissertation with the Chat GPT software. It is an Artificial Intelligence software launched by the company OpenAI on November 30, 2022. This new version allows a real qualitative leap in the production of texts, perfectly elaborated, from simple or complex requests. It also generates its own reasoning beyond the simple repetition or paraphrase of existing texts. If a student in a class plagiarizes, it is easy to justify that he must be sanctioned, if 50% produce via Chat GPT, then it will be necessary to authorize or even encourage the tool for all otherwise to have to spend more time investigating the problem origin of a text than to correct it. The absurd but inevitable consequence is that the production of the dissertation as a synthesis of knowledge useful to a project will have to be abandoned, and beyond that it is all the personal work at home that will have to be handed over in question. Chat GPT also offers simultaneous translation and dialogue interfaces allowing even the enrichment of the texts offered continuously. The more you use it, the more the machine continues to learn. The question for the designer, the one who represents the world of tomorrow, or the teacher, the one who transmits, is not to question the relevance of the tool and its damage to intelligence, but to pose aware of the question of how we are going to teach tomorrow and what will be the role of the teacher. It is the platform, that of the master, which is overturned with the ultimate question, “what is my position from now on, to arouse what intelligence and what education? “.
Dall E deployed by the same company Open AI offers analogous perspectives when it comes to producing images from a simple description. The images are contextualized according to the recommendations given to the software. “In the manner of Vermeer…” and potentially your portrait could hang in the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam. However, and the question deserves to be asked, should we continue to learn to draw?
Clearly, Chat GPT and Dall E will write and compose better than us, draw better than us, and then better and better because users will constantly enrich them and teach them how to learn. Just like language teachers, history, drawing, graphic design teachers, etc. will therefore have to adapt to the new situation. It will be pointless to cry wolf, devilry, or any damnation, no one will escape this revolution in the exercise of knowledge management and production and/or in the exercise of creation. College students, high school students, students will overtake their masters unless they are deprived of their telephones and their computers. New York City Public Schools prohibits students and their teachers from using Chat GPT. The sanction is useless, it is widening the gap between real life and the education system which will be seen as obsolete. In higher education, it will have to be put on the program otherwise it will hamper the student’s ability to be hired by the companies that will use it.
Should we continue to learn foreign languages? If it is only a question of communicating, of exchanging, of doing business, then learning is in vain. Each can be equipped with simultaneous translators who in the hollow of the ear will directly reproduce the words of your foreign interlocutor. Certain professions are directly threatened, teachers, translators, interpreters. But, the linguist can rejoice in this as current, vernacular English, reduced to 5000 words to hold an autonomous conversation, invades the planet, all languages will be able to enrich themselves again without fear of misunderstanding. No longer learning foreign languages could be the condition for saving many which disappear by default of being used for the benefit of a usual “Globish”.
But what about teachers? The opportunity is offered to them to reflect on a different position, learning a foreign language being an opportunity to enrich their own mother tongue, their own culture. In a globalized world, where difference will become revolutionary, language teachers could be the guarantors of culture and diversity. “I am learning English to better understand the richness of my mother tongue and all the nuances it offers to structure my thinking…”
Terrifying or exciting, Artificial Intelligence will impose itself on us. Not sure that tomorrow the teacher will continue to teach to transmit knowledge. Wikipedia is just a click away, Chat GBT composes and renders the state of the art, synthesizes all knowledge at any given time, and Dall E offers everyone the ability to draw. And then there will come a lot of other software that will have performance far beyond any human capacity, the better they will produce other knowledge. Some mourners talk about the accuracy, objectivity and honesty of the billions of information that we will have immediately. You have to have heard two scholarly historians recounting the same proven fact to know that the truth does not exist and that History is essentially revisionist. Why should the machine be less reliable than the two historians?
From “distance” to avatar
The Covid crisis and confinement have forced all educational establishments to set up distance learning courses, showing that it is possible to work without physically moving. Organizations are organized around remote work carried by a breath of ecological virtue of travel economy, which remains to be proven when we know the carbon footprint of a computer. There are many risks in dismantling the company through the organization of remote work, the quality of work, its social identification, the strengthening of control at the expense of trust, the use of service companies rather than salary because why hire someone on a permanent contract if you never see them…
But and to return to education, and this is what most scientific studies reveal, a distance course is more difficult to memorize than a face-to-face course. The absence of spatial context makes learning more random, as if we were learning something on the condition of somewhere. “I know where I was when France won the World Cup”, the memorization of the objective fact is easier by identifying the place of learning. So long live the face-to-face!?… Certainly.
Then comes another “devilry”: It is likely that very quickly the distance course will be replaced by the course by interposed avatar, avatar which will evolve in a virtual space which compensates for the lack of spatial identification. Here again, what place for the teacher in this virtual space? It is necessary to reinvent all the educational models, to renature the relationship of the Master to the student.
What is happening in design and creation schools bears witness to this and foreshadows this revolution. The students accompanied by their design teacher share, test, experience, reformulate. It is the students who teach because they are the ones who are asked to have creative and innovative ideas. The role of the teacher is to arouse desire, creativity, never to constrain it, to be the enlightened actor of something that is beyond him. Its role is to encourage, to allow the emergence of new ideas, to accept the transgression which in essence goes beyond intention, knowledge and knowledge. It is a question of encouraging, of correcting during moments of doubt inherent in all journeys into the unknown, of reassuring in the event of an error and thus justifying starting over. It will also be in the function of the teacher to study and choose the best software and / or online courses rather than dispensing them.
Chat GPT will have no trouble producing knowledge. A click and a question will make it possible to dispense with the teacher. But artificial intelligence will not be able to teach desire, that of the student, the one whose light is expected.
At the time of major deadlines when resources are running out and global warming threatens humanity, where Chat GPT, intelligent avatars and other devils could take power, what else can we expect from our students and our teachers than they knock down the platform and together they build a better and smarter world.