De chatbots, professors-bot i automatització a la universitat

He vist a ReadWrite l’article How Much of Your Home Life Will Be Automated in 2030?. Defineix automatització com a

automation—taking care of the tasks you’d do otherwise, without your manual input. And as you might suspect, a greater portion of your life is going to be automated in the future as new apps, new devices, and other kinds of new technology emerge.

Però així i tot cal anar amb cura en parlar d’automatització:

When you think of automation, you probably imagine a robot taking care of the housework for you, or a TV wiping itself down like it’s out of a Jetsons cartoon. But automation isn’t always so overt. In fact, it tends to creep up in our lives slowly until we take it for granted; in fact, you could feasibly include your alarm clock, an invention that’s been around since 1787, as a form of automation. It’s also hard to define automation because it’s hard to say how much human input is necessary to negate the definition. For example, if you make a manual tweak to your automated thermostat cycle, is that no longer considered automation? What if you only use the automated temperature cycling one day a week?

Aquest article planteja no pas el que serà automàtic, sinó allò que sembla que serà difícil d’automatitzar. Una de les coses que no s’automatitzarà gaire serà la interacció personal. I en canvi, s’automatitzarà llum, sensors, cuina, recomanacions, notificacions de salut…

No hi he vist res de l’educació (superior) … deu ser que educar implica interacció personal.

Un segon article interessant és a The Guardian: Will AI replace university lecturers? Not if we make it clear why humans matter. S’hi diu que

a growing database of information harvested from online courses – clickstreams, eye-tracking and even emotion-detection – could make AI lecturers a common feature in the near future.

Els bot-tutoris farien això:

The AI tutor will design personalised learning plans that optimise each student’s outcome. Should one student watch their lecture at breakfast time, or in the evening? Where should their first test pop up in a busy schedule? How much preparation will they need to understand a certain concept? While a skeleton crew of humans would be needed initially to design curriculums (the creative bit) and film lectures (CGI is still too expensive), AI tutors could do the rest.

Perquè ensenyar és

after 15 years’ lecturing, that teaching is a creative, insightful, collaborative, soul-enriching human activity.

I conclou que la cosa és verda encara, sobretot quan diu que no s’ha de confondre “aprendre” amb “consumir contingut”. Però té por que, igual que les màquines poden remplaçar els metges… el professorat també sigui remplaçable per professors-bot.

Replacing all lecturers with AI is probably still some years off. The ethical and educational challenges, which include AI’s inbuilt biases, the importance of lecturers’ pastoral role amid increasing mental health concerns, and the idea that “consuming content” is equivalent to learning, are so unsettling I’d like to think we wouldn’t let it happen. But I worry that the combined pressures of technology and economics frequently prove irresistible. If machines can replace doctors, why not academics too?

Un tercer article rellevant aquí és de l’Inside Higher Education: Chatting with Chatbots, sobre els assistents virtuals o chatbots. S’hi proporcionen alguns exemples d’ús de chatbots, sobretot adreçats als estudiants universitaris. Però va més enllà: la personalització dels missatges, un tema controvertit per qüestions de privacitat:

personalization will drive the next generation of chatbots. Not only will chatbots be able to retrieve personal information, such as grades or account balances, for students who are logged in to the college system, but they will also talk to students in an individualized way, perhaps employing humor or references based on the interests of the user. Personalization is an area where it would be easy to go too far, which is why most chatbots have so far limited personalization to functions such as addressing the student by name.

Està clar que els chatbots, ara mateix, són un complement a la informació del personal administratiu de suport:

services are not replacing administrative staff, but instead supporting them to make better use of their time

Em fa gràcies el QuizBot, que intenta remplaçar l’ús de flashcards per part del professorat:

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a “QuizBot” that they say is more effective than flashcards at helping students learn and retain information, and WGU Labs, a non-profit organization founded by Western Governors University is also exploring this technology.

En tot cas, sembla que per ara els chatbots no comportaran pèrdua de llocs de treball, cal molta innovació i també recerca en com és percebut el seu ús entre els col·lectius universitaris, especialment els estudiants.

I compte, perquè no fer servir chatbots pot esdevenir un símbol de capacitat econòmica…

En definitiva, tres articles ben interessants i actuals sobre la intel·ligència artificial i l’educació superior.