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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 12.23.2022

"Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder

On Tuesday, Andrew told me to listen to this Daily program on A.I. ChatGPT and I did. It was a pretty wild program describing this ‘breakthrough’ in artificial intelligence. The next day, we discussed A.I. ChatGPT at our Wednesday Meeting and had a great conversation about how our students demonstrate and exhibit what they know as a fail-safe way of making sure that what you say you can do, you can actually do. Given that ChatGPT is pretty damn good at instantaneously doing original papers and essays, solving math problems and who knows what else, what’s a classroom teacher to do or even worse a college professor or even worse some online college instructor that you ‘hand in’ work to where there is very little ‘there, there’ to begin with? Our work turns the tables on ChatGPT because you really have to show what you know and your advisors and mentors know you over time. This is the “who knows you know what you know” of social capital. Now with Chatbots on the scene, policymakers will have a choice of tightening the screws to manage the way they continue to deliver content or pay attention to more competency-based ways of showing what you know. Ironically, these chatbots can turn out to be the very thing that flips school systems toward a more human scale approach to learning that values communities of practice. “Is it Live, or is it Memorex?

Presently in the Past - Now we will know even less about more Here’s the 1974 marketing from Memorex claiming you can’t tell the difference between Ella Fitzgerald’s tapes or live performances but that just ain’t so. Of course you can. A recording is a recording, analog or digital. For thousands of years, marketers of the latest fads and technologies overpromise and deliver something that may convince us their product is amazing because they say it but is it so? Shades of Edward Bernays! Will Chatbots deliver live or Memorex? Will these Chatbots change the glut of criminal and civil law cases and make algorithmic judgements that are fair and eliminate bias? Will they take the burden off of doctors swamped in a sea of medical data? Will they settle insurance claims fast? The list goes on and on. All of this is in our near future and has implications for places where we learn. Is it a way to do things we really don’t want to do in the first place so, we can really do the things we want to do? Now that the holidays are upon us, if technology can deliver content that people really feel they can’t tell the difference between live or Memorex, why do so many of us travel far and wide to be with their loved ones and in such terrible weather? Maybe, the more we develop technologies that remove us from who we are in the world, the more we yearn for the human touch.

On Saturday BPL Board member Gary Kraut arranged a 3-hour tour for me and 3 other board members of UCSD with the President of UCSD, Pradeep Khosla. It was quite a tour of soon to be 8 Living and Learning Communities on the UCSD campus. There were restaurants, a ceramics studio, in and outdoor concert halls, a glassblowing studio, maker spaces, an entrepreneur center, pharmacies, Targets, a community engagement center, lots of performing arts spaces and state of the art science labs. They were even building a retirement facility on campus. Case in point, you could be born here and never leave. Truly cradle to grave. I’m still having a hard time understanding the implications. Above is a photo of the street murals going up next to a 3,000-seat outdoor concert facility that is a smaller version of the RADI Center in downtown San Diego.

This is all such a far cry from College Unbound where the C-U is a school in communities that are well established and UCSD that is investing billions in developing a community in a school. What would happen if C-U had access to this type of funding? 311 goes to Philly Wherever I go that’s where I am Once again, our 311-pre-apprenticeship group came through bigtime. This time, we assembled and supported the work that is about to happen in Philadelphia where under very different circumstances than Newark, the 311 will start this summer. I still can’t say enough about this group. Whenever a problem arises, everyone is all-in to figure out how to move forward. This week Crystal Cubbage from the Phillie Collaborative needed to understand the Carpenter’s Union position on the past practices of their legacy admissions. Mungu Sanchez, the community liaison for the carpenters stepped in and cleared the air as it pertained to the past, present and future of where the carpenters stand on DEI. Then, Karen Gaylord from Workforce Development in Newark chimed to offer any and all support for how the 311 successfully unfolded. It was more than enough to get us to move forward quickly. Have the happiest of holidays – Look for the perfect imperfections. Peace & Be Well!

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