Case One: Chat-GPT

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chat bot that was developed by the research lab OpenAI and first released to the public in November 2022. The tool is built upon an initial collection of large language models– over 300 billion words — and is being shaped and deepened by human feedback. ChatGPT is able to perform various functions, from drafting and refining original prose in response to a prompt, engaging in dialogue, gaming, writing computer code, and more. Other, similar consumer facing AI tools are in development by companies like Google, Microsoft, and Meta. 

Technically, ChatGPT uses a complex machine learning design—called a neural network— that has interconnected layers that process text inputs (which users enter in the chat bot’s interface) to predict and offer a coherent response. The tool is conversational and responsive, and quickly becoming more capable and sophisticated. A new version–ChatGPT-4–was released on March 14th, and offers more precise responses and accepts image inputs.

The release and rapid enhancement of this tool is a harbinger of a new era of technology, and institutions must grapple with its implications. AI is likely to transform our labor, raises major ethical questions, and will impact how we produce and consume information and what we make of it. As educational technologists, our task is to use critical frameworks to anticipate and evaluate the impact this new technology might have on our educational institutions and systems. We will talk through what these transformations may be, and then will craft an intervention.

The articles below are intended to provide an introduction to the discourse around ChatGPT since its release last year, and are grouped loosely around themes. You do not need to read every piece, but do come to class on March 23rd with a set of questions you want to explore.

 As you read, keep in mind the following questions:

  1. How does the tool work?
  2. What is its promise, and what are its risks?
  3. What are its ethical and labor implications?



Implications and Imaginaries


Economics and Labor