The OpenAI "Developers Conference" starts to redefine the future of education—Agents and More
Assistants/Agents, Make Your Own Bots, Multimodality, and More. Invest $20/month and become a millionaire.
OpenAI led its first “Developers Conference” yesterday, and what was revealed at the conference has a lot of implications for education, even though they only touched on it directly for a brief amount of time.
In my normal list fashion, I’ll cover the implications in list form.
Although the conference covered OpenAI’s ChatGPT developments, these developments aren’t limited to OpenAI (at least not for long). Other companies will develop AI agents soon, and they will be built into learning management systems and into tutoring and teaching bots. You don't need to be using ChatGPT at your school for these to be relevant.
And, as noted at the end, we are living through a rapid rate of change that presents enormous opportunities and challenges. Curriculums that are designed to help students grow as agile individuals who are capable of learning to learn, communicating, collaborating, and thinking creatively, and developing the mindset and desire to do so, are going to be the ones that help students thrive (even survive) in this constantly changing world. (our previous report).
AI is Not a Passing Fad
This isn’t crypto. 92% of the Fortune 500 companies are using ChatGPT and it has 100 million weekly users. My guess is the other 8% of Fortune 500 companies are using a different language model (Cohere, stability.ai, Claude, etc). With individual and collective productivity gains as high as they are, this is no surprise.
Graduates will use tools such as these at work, and the tools will be embedded in their everyday lives. The more opportunities we can use to work with students and this technology, the better.
GPT 4 “Turbo”
These updates are now all available as part of “GPT4 Turbo.”
Assistants and Agents are AIs that can carry out multiple tasks on their own when given a direction. They demonstrated an Assistant that I’ve abbreviated here. You can see the full video at the link above.
I think they properly called these Assistants because they are just doing one task: creating partial and full lists of attendees and putting the credits in their accounts. “Agents” would be capable of doing more, such as building a business, including developing the prototype, conducting market research, creating the product, shipping it, and collecting revenue, all under one general direction. For more on agents, see Mustafa Suleyman’s interview with the Economist.
Sam Altman, the CEO of Open AI, implied at the end of the conference that they have agents ready but that they are giving people time to start with Assistants and then move into the experience of using Agents. He also pointed out they need to focus on safety, which is probably why they’ve poured 20% of their resources into safety. Agents can be dangerous because there is a risk that they may do something unkind when given instructions to accomplish even a good goal, and we certainly don’t want them directed to do bad things.
For now, let’s think about how Assistants (As), and eventually Agents (Ag) could work in education. As could do everything an Ag could do.
We explain Ags in more detail in our report (pp.54-7) and discuss their implications for educational bots/”Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS).” (p. 87). Whether they take the form of Mentors/teachers, coaches, peers, etc., interactive Ags are going to become a core part of at least the growing private educational system.
Let’s look at how teachers and professors might use As and Ags. These suggestions are just the “tip of the iceberg.”
Teacher: Please generate a list of everyone who scored lower than a 70 on the unit test and draft emails to their parents that list the test grade, any grades on quizzes for the unit, and any homework grades and missing homework assignments. Give me the option to edit the emails before you send them (As).
Teacher: Johnny and Sally did poorly on the quiz, but the rest of the class did well. Please review their quizzes, find the areas of weakness, create relevant subsequent assignments, and give them another quiz you write. If they score higher on the quiz you created, replace it with the one I’ve given (Ag)
Teacher: Joe is going to be absent for three days due to a family situation. Please send him recordings of what I said in class, my instructional material, and the assignments he needs to complete. Follow up with him until they are completed (Ag).
Please email each student who received less than a “B” grade on the first assignment and ask them to come to my office hours. Please schedule specific times within the constraints of my office hours. Email me a list of the appointments as well as a list of any students who don’t respond after three tries. (Ag)
Please organize a class on the First Amendment that will be interesting to students. Here is the previous syllabus and the teaching materials. (AG).
I could write more, but I’m sure we’ll have Agents teaching courses in due time. I’ll cover this more in the section on bots below.
Students can (and will) use these As and Ag to help them complete their homework, do research, and learn. As many have been saying, students will soon have their own “personal AIs” that will both function as “Digital Twins” (p. 187) and “agents.”
Relationship(s) between students, Assistants, and Agents
Precisely how As and Ags function in the classroom and relate to students and teachers will become a hotly debated topic. We flush out some different ideas in our report (Chapter 5 ).
I ultimately think this will lead to substantially more change than what is described above, but I think it’s easiest for people to imagine how they work within the current educational structure.
There are so many things administrators can use these tools for.
Upload your courses, faculty teaching requests, and time of day requests, and ask ChatGPT to produce a schedule
Bus routes. Upload all the pick-up addresses and driver availability and have it generate the routes.
Organize meetings. You have your AS schedule meetings at mutually workable times.
Just let your own mind run.
Building your own GPT
Build your own GPT allows students and teachers to create their own bots without any coding experience. Users can simply upload their own documents so they can train the bots on their own data. These bots can be limited to personal use, group use, or shared widely. OpenAI is working on a revenue-sharing plan for those who want to share any bots widely. These bots will train the users (they are not mere knowledge bases, which some people are still struggling to get their heads around) through interactive dialogue.
Sam Altmam did a live demo of him building one.
Notice that it instructs the bot to “grill them..” It’s interactive. It can teach/mentor, coach, etc.
There are a few direct implications for education.
One, teachers and professors can build bots for class content that students can interact with in a dynamic, conversational way 24/7. Teachers can instruct the bot as to how to interact with the students.
Two, students can work to develop their own bots that they make available for profit (K–12 students need an 18+ individual, such as a parent, as a collaborator on this) in the bot store that will be available soon. The store will create the “next generation of millionaires” (Khan) and I predict many of these will be students, including high school students.
There is also a lot of research that shows students learn by teaching, and I’m sure that building a teaching bot would help them learn not only their class content but also a valuable skill. See the work in Anand Rao’s course (using PlayLab)
Three, administrators can create their own bots trained on content that parents can access and ask all the questions they want about school policies and district or university events.
For more ideas on Agents, see Mollick.
Collapse of Products
As we discuss in our report (page 131), this will be the era where companies come and go. When OpenAI released its multimodal tool last week, many of the companies that developed “plug-ins” (e.g. PDF readers, document summarisers) no longer had value since OpenAI now included these tools directly into ChaGPT. Similarly, many companies that are developing simple bots for businesses that can now simply upload and train their own data no longer need to pay bot developers.
This also means that certain educational products will disappear. Over the last 6 months, many products that were simple “wraps” around OpenAI APis developed that made it easy, for example, for teachers to put text in boxes to generate lesson plans and quizzes. It appears that OpenAI just dropped this ability into its system through a partnership with Code. Many are predicting the end of Magic School, Jasper, and thousands of similar tools.
Companies will need to think hard about what value they are providing beyond wraps and how much they can charge for that. Schools need to be careful before embracing apps that might suddenly disappear as a result of an OpenAI (or similar) tool upgrade.
OpenAI’s integrated Dall-E3 image generation has rapidly improved and even includes the ability to add and change text through command. Soon, there will be plenty of bots in the “store” that can directly manipulate images. Teachers can use image generators to produce classroom materials and to help students understand the representations of text they are using.
Tools such as requests for basic text output, image generation, and Advanced Data Analysis are all now integrated and can be launched from a single query.
For example, the other day, my sister asked me how to create an organizational chart with AI. I asked her to describe the org chart she wanted, and then I asked multimodal chatGPT to produce it. A substantial amount of work was done in two minutes.
I could also have done this by voice command: I literally could have simply verbally instructed ChatGPT to produce the organizational chart. And I can already interact with it in 6 different voices of my choosing in multiple languages.
And, of course, if I had an org chart in an image that I wanted in text, I could have uploaded the image and asked it to output it in text.
Users can now input up to 128,000 tokens (approximately 100,000 words or 300 pages) for a text prompt and can request output of the same length. This means they can upload entire books and reports to generate summaries and old-fashioned “book reports.” They can also ask ChatGPT to help them write entire chapters and novels.
Potential assignment: For this next assignment, you will have 14 days to write a novel. The novel should have 6–10 chapters and three overlapping plot lines, but it should revolve around a central theme. There should be 2-3 main characters and 10-15 other characters in the novel. Include 6 images. Use ChatGPT to help you write the novel, but then edit it so that at least 10% of your own writing appears throughout the novice. Highlight your own writing and include notes as to why you chose to use your own writing in the places you did.
I’m sure an English teacher could come up with something better, but you get the idea. Students in an engineering class could be asked to produce a short paper that explains the significance of a project they just completed.
ChatGPT4 Turbo’s database now includes training on data through April 2023, and they suggested it will be updated again soon. Since Turbo can now simultaneously query the web, recent material can be accessed there as well. Bing.com/new and Perplexity.ai have had web integration for a long time.
Retrieval and an internet connection mean students can do actual research (no more fake bibliographies). I’ve already found this useful.
Some have been advising schools not to use these services because they think these technologies violate IP and that schools will be sued. I never agreed with that (I think most of the applications are ‘derivative use’ and I don’t foresee a publisher suing a school for generating an image), but that is all irrelevant now as Open AI will defend any lawsuit against any enterprise or API use (which you should be if you are a school).
The technology is impressive, but these are all tools that we can use to amplify ourselves. Students who have the essential skills and academic mindsets to engage these tools, most of which can be used with simple voice and text commands, will have the world as their oyster.
In our report, we suggest some important programs that K-12 schools emphasize as part of their core curriculum
It is likely that companies will need fewer workers in the future, and it will be harder and harder for individuals to demonstrate the “added value” that they bring to a company, as more and more people will be able to complete most of what is in job descriptions using technology. The future of employment in the world of AI is heavily debated, but wage declines are likely. Individuals will need to counter this by being their own bosses and there are plenty of ways to build new businesses with AIs for “peanuts.”
Ethan Mollick, who had early access to the “BuildGPTs,” demonstrates the entrepreneurial potential.
You can see the full post with the video demo here.
We now have a “creator economy” on steroids.
I asked Dall-E3 to imagine my new $20/month (super)assistant. My new "superhero" is supporting my superpowers (Altman).
I can be taught so much. From Chris Donnelly.
Speech and Debate
Learn to be a communicator, a “reasoner”, and a collaborator, both with AIs and people.
Is a DebateGPT coming? :)
Showcase your work.
We have more ideas in the report. You get the idea.
Pending grant approval, we will be launching a summer program for high school students this summer that is focused on deep learning approaches and amplifying human intelligence with these technologies.
Will Schools Adapt?
I saw a LinkedIn post this morning from someone arguing that this won’t change education because education never changes. It’s not entirely true because some schools are moving on this.
More importantly, it will change education because there are now or will soon be a million+ places to learn anything you want whenever you want. As bots become more accurate and hallucinate less (ChatGPT will substantially improve this with significant increases in RAG ability), it will be more difficult to keep our students’ attention.
"Students' learning needs are in constant flux, and they increasingly seek technology that mirrors the engaging, convenient format of tools and technology they use in their daily lives like ChatGPT and social media," said Justin Singh, chief transformation and strategy officer for McGraw Hill, adding that content providers must meet "high standards for accuracy and trustworthiness." [Campus Tech]
If you have $20 per month and a bit of knowledge that you can learn almost anywhere, you have the potential to become a millionaire before you graduate from high school.
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