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Entering a New Frontier: Artificial Intelligence

Updated: Apr 2




During our January 2024 Tutor Talks, Tutor Meryl Glickman, introduced the topic of AI - Artificial Intelligence. Some of us have dabbled in these waters, others were first introduced during our session....




We wanted to explore the answers to some basic questions about Artificial Intelligence.

  • What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

  • Why do we need to know about it?

  • How might you detect that your student is using AI?

  • What are some tips for using AI?


What is AI?

 

In simple terms, AI is a field of computer science that aims to create machines that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. It involves creating algorithms and models that enable machines to mimic cognitive functions.

 

You probably have already interacted with AI in such applications as:

  • Speech Recognition

  • Playing games (like online mahjong and other games

  • Driving cars  - cars that self-park

  • Virtual assistants and online chatbots

  • Image recognition


How might you use AI?

You can ask AI the following types of questions:

*Help me write a letter to Beth and Fred thanking them for hosting their Jewish friends for brunch on Christmas day.


*How can I teach capitalization to an ESL student?


*Rewrite this to read better:" "During our January 2024 Tutor Talks, Tutor Meryl Glickman, introduced the topic of AI - Artificial Intelligence. Some of us have dabbled in these waters, others were first introduced during our session...."


...and here's what AI produced in response to my prompt: In the January 2024 edition of Tutor Talks, Tutor Meryl Glickman captivated our audience by delving into the fascinating realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI). While some of us had already dipped our toes into these waters, others were introduced to the intriguing world of AI for the first time during our enlightening session.

  

 

What is the difference between ChatGPT vs Google?

ChatGPT:

  • generates responses based on its training data, in other words, it is learning through feedback and its models how to create the best responses based on what's been asked before

  • doesn't directly access the internet for real-time information.

  • ChatGPT offers insights

  • Operates as a writing assistant – produces a narrative, and an idea generator

  • Not utilizing data and events from before January 2022

Googling:

  • provides immediate, up-to-date information from the web

  • prioritizes goods and services it sells

  • akin to the Yellow Pages of the past - provides a list of websites and online resources that respond to the search term

There are many different AI generators online for many different purposes.  If you want to try one that is more like a Google search (because it is a chatbot combined with a Web search), try Bing Chat.  You can only access using Microsoft's Edge browser.  Bing Chat also provides links to the sources of the content.


For a list of different AI chatbots that you can use for free: https://www.techradar.com/features/chatgpt-alternatives - section-writesonic 



Your student and AI

Upon reading a sample email received by her student, Meryl understood immediately that her student had used AI. How did she know?


Here's a partial extract of what Meryl received:

Dear mrs.  Glickman   


I hope this email finds you well. im writing to express my interest in the SoftWare Engineer  position that I saw advertised on linkedin. The combination of my skills, education, and passion for Network and Systems make me an ideal candidate for this role at SRC, Inc.   I have attached my resume, which provides further details about my professional background education and experiences.


I am With a solid knowledge of Network system and network technologies.I am excited about the prospect of contributing my skills to the dynamic team at SRC.  


I am particularly drawn to SRC inc.  because of its commitment to Constant innovation in technologies. I am confident that my Knowledge and persistence would make a positive impact on the team .


Meryl observed the following elements (highlighted) to understand that her student had used AI to compose her email:

  • Better grammar

  • Capitalization of the sentences

  • Capitals in the middle of a sentence

  • Sophisticated writing mixed with error-ridden writing

  • Long and winded, which AI can be –  It makes up stuff

  • Run-on sentences (ChatGPT loves run-on sentences!)

  • Inconsistencies in language proficiency

  • Unnatural expressions

  • Abrupt shifts in writing style

  • Unlike her previous writing


The student's email provided a wonderful opportunity to focus on writing structure, vocabulary, and capitalization.


Using AI as a tool and not as a crutch may genuinely help your student write in English. You might suggest that your student try to write first, then ask AI to fix the writing and then edit from the AI suggestions. As shared by a tutor, AI is great if you can "maximize its positive value and minimize its negative value."


 Your student needs to understand the downsides of the tool which include:

  • Show them how you can tell they used AI. Recruiters will see the same issues in the documents submitted to them.

  • AI tends to use commonly used phrases or lingo. If your student uses AI without editing, their writing won't differentiate them from others. One of our tutors called AI a "plagiarism generator!"

  • Don't put personal information into AI because whatever you put in becomes part of the AI tool's database and can then be used by others.

  • Anything AI produces in response to a prompt should be fact-checked and verified.


AI for resume writing

Tutor Debbie Glassman shared a resume she received from her student that had been partially generated by AI. She shared the "before" and "after" versions (see below) of that resume. The AI-generated document provided a platform to work together on the resume and discuss vocabulary, grammar, and format. Debbie shared that it's key for the resume, cover letter, or any other document the student plans to use to be written in the student's voice and be consistent with the student's level of English proficiency.


Operations Coordinator Resume generated with help of AI
.pdf
Download PDF • 84KB



Resume -edited
.pdf
Download PDF • 422KB



Caveats to consider when using AI

As with any tool, there are certainly caveats to be aware of with using AI. Disclaimer - this list was generated by ChatGPT!!


While ChatGPT is a powerful language model that can be used for a variety of tasks, there are some caveats and considerations to keep in mind when using it:

  1. Lack of Real-Time Information: The model's knowledge is based on pre-existing data up to its last training cut-off in January 2022. It doesn't have access to real-time information, so any events or developments that occurred after that date won't be known to the model.

  2. Potential for Inaccurate or Outdated Information: Since the model's training data includes a wide range of sources, it may not always provide the most accurate or up-to-date information. It's essential to verify critical information from reliable and current sources.

  3. Tendency to Generate Plausible-Sounding but Incorrect Answers: ChatGPT generates responses based on patterns learned during training, and it may produce answers that sound plausible but are factually incorrect or nonsensical. Always critically evaluate the responses and cross-check information when needed.

  4. Sensitivity to Input Wording: The model can be sensitive to slight changes in input phrasing, and a small modification might result in a different response. Experiment with rephrasing if the initial response seems unclear or not relevant.

  5. Long-Winded Responses: ChatGPT doesn't have an inherent understanding of brevity and may generate verbose or lengthy responses. If you need concise information, you might need to guide the model or ask for a more succinct answer.

  6. Possible Bias: The model may unintentionally exhibit biases present in its training data. It's crucial to be aware of this and carefully consider the responses it generates.

  7. No Personal Data Security: Avoid sharing sensitive personal information while using ChatGPT. Even though efforts are made to make the model refuse inappropriate requests, it's better to err on the side of caution.

  8. Limited Understanding of Specific Domains: While ChatGPT has general knowledge, it might not be as proficient in highly specialized or technical domains. For specific and detailed information, consulting domain experts or dedicated sources is advisable.

  9. Potential for Inappropriate Content: Although efforts have been made to make the model refuse inappropriate requests, it may sometimes respond to harmful instructions or exhibit biased behavior. If you encounter such behavior, it's important to report it.

It's important to use ChatGPT responsibly, critically evaluate its responses, and be aware of its limitations to derive the most value from its capabilities.


AI can be fun!

Tutor Larry Frazin posed the following to AI and look at what he got back from the system:

Here's Larry's prompt to the AI system:

Can you write a short parable in the style of the Midrash about the values of liking the Chicago Cubs? (Full disclosure -- I'm from Chicago and if I'm going to root for a baseball team, it will be the Cubs!)


And this is what AI produced in response to his prompt!!!

Once upon a time, there was a devoted fan of the Chicago Cubs who lived in a small village. Every day, he would wear his Cubs hat and jersey and listen to games on his radio.


One day, a wise rabbi came to the village and saw the fan. "Why do you love the Cubs so much?" the rabbi asked.


The fan replied, "The Cubs have always been my team. My father and grandfather were fans, and I grew up watching them play. Even though they haven't won a championship in over a hundred years, I still have faith in them. It's not just about winning, it's about loyalty and perseverance."


The rabbi nodded and said, "You remind me of a story from the Talmud. There was once a man who planted a carob tree. It took seventy years to bear fruit, but he still tended to it with love and care. When he passed away, his son inherited the tree and continued to care for it. The son then passed it on to his own son, and the tree continued to bear fruit for generations to come."


"Just like the carob tree, your love for the Cubs is a testament to the values of patience, loyalty, and tradition. Even though they may not always win, your devotion to the team is a legacy that will continue to inspire future generations."


And with that, the rabbi blessed the Cubs fan and his team, and went on his way. The fan continued to wear his Cubs gear with pride, knowing that his love for the team was more than just a game, but a symbol of his values and heritage.


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