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Shock and Awe: Generative AI composition, cultural adaptation, and postsecondary education

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The launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT was a dramatic event making generative artificial intelligence a mainstream phenomenon. Data journalist, Katharina Buchholz explains that “ChatGPT gained one million users just five days after launching in November” of 2022 (Statista, 2023). Generative AI can produce stylistically correct sentences, paragraphs, and documents across a multitude of genres. It can produce professional-grade visual images and video. While heavily debated, one could argue that generative AI ‘creates’. Consequently, generative AI can help students create art, write, or collaborate with other students. However, generative AI can complete all of these tasks for students without requiring much human effort, disturbing the general premise of learning to compose. At the same time, its creations are vulnerable to producing false information and discriminatory results due to the training sources. This presentation argues that shock instigated by large tech companies, releasing these products through the rhetoric of hype and fear, is fuelling mass adoption rather than a measured approach. Educators, students, and university administrators are faced with handling the cultural adaptation to AI generators that challenge traditions of human creativity and formal education. Drawing on media studies and rhetoric (Pedersen and Iliadis 2020), digital literacy studies (Duin and Pedersen 2021), and critical AI studies (Bender, Gebru, McMillan-Major, and Shmitchell 2021), this talk points to the process of re-imagining learning expectations in university courses amid the onslaught of generative AI emergence.


Isabel Pedersen shall speak at the OTESSA 2023 Conference (Open/Technology in Education, Society, and Scholarship Association).

May 29, 2023
13:00 - 14:00 UTC-4
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