The MIT Press announces the Open Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, a paradigm shift in open-access reference works — mitpress.mit.edu
The Open Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science will equip readers with essential tools to grapple with the profound implications of cognition and intelligence in today’s society

OECS’s articles will not only establish a shared understanding of foundational concepts, but also showcase cutting-edge debates and introduce core subfields, central concepts, significant phenomena, and key methodologies.

 

 

The Prompt #14: Your Guide to Custom Instructions — from noisemedia.ai by Alex Banks

Whilst we typically cover a single ‘prompt’ to use with ChatGPT, today we’re exploring a new feature now available to everyone: custom instructions.

You provide specific directions for ChatGPT leading to greater control of the output. It’s all about guiding the AI to get the responses you really want.

To get started:
Log into ChatGPT ? Click on your name/email bottom left corner ? select ‘Custom instructions’


Meet Zoom AI Companion, your new AI assistant! Unlock the benefits with a paid Zoom account — from blog.zoom.us by Smita Hashim

We’re excited to introduce you to AI Companion (formerly Zoom IQ), your new generative AI assistant across the Zoom platform. AI Companion empowers individuals by helping them be more productive, connect and collaborate with teammates, and improve their skills.

Envision being able to interact with AI Companion through a conversational interface and ask for help on a whole range of tasks, similarly to how you would with a real assistant. You’ll be able to ask it to help prepare for your upcoming meeting, get a consolidated summary of prior Zoom meetings and relevant chat threads, and even find relevant documents and tickets from connected third-party applications with your permission.

From DSC:
You can ask AI Companion to catch you up on what you missed during a meeting in progress.”

And what if some key details were missed? Should you rely on this? I’d treat this with care/caution myself.



A.I.’s un-learning problem: Researchers say it’s virtually impossible to make an A.I. model ‘forget’ the things it learns from private user data — from fortune.com by Stephen Pastis (behind paywall)

That’s because, as it turns out, it’s nearly impossible to remove a user’s data from a trained A.I. model without resetting the model and forfeiting the extensive money and effort put into training it. To use a human analogy, once an A.I. has “seen” something, there is no easy way to tell the model to “forget” what it saw. And deleting the model entirely is also surprisingly difficult.

This represents one of the thorniest, unresolved, challenges of our incipient artificial intelligence era, alongside issues like A.I. “hallucinations” and the difficulties of explaining certain A.I. outputs. 


More companies see ChatGPT training as a hot job perk for office workers — from cnbc.com by Mikaela Cohen

Key points:

  • Workplaces filled with artificial intelligence are closer to becoming a reality, making it essential that workers know how to use generative AI.
  • Offering specific AI chatbot training to current employees could be your next best talent retention tactic.
  • 90% of business leaders see ChatGPT as a beneficial skill in job applicants, according to a report from career site Resume Builder.

OpenAI Plugs ChatGPT Into Canva to Sharpen Its Competitive Edge in AI — from decrypt.co by Jose Antonio Lanz
Now ChatGPT Plus users can “talk” to Canva directly from OpenAI’s bot, making their workflow easier.

This strategic move aims to make the process of creating visuals such as logos, banners, and more, even more simple for businesses and entrepreneurs.

This latest integration could improve the way users generate visuals by offering a streamlined and user-friendly approach to digital design.


From DSC:
This Tweet addresses a likely component of our future learning ecosystems:


Large language models aren’t people. Let’s stop testing them as if they were. — from technologyreview.com by Will Douglas Heaven
With hopes and fears about this technology running wild, it’s time to agree on what it can and can’t do.

That’s why a growing number of researchers—computer scientists, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, linguists—want to overhaul the way they are assessed, calling for more rigorous and exhaustive evaluation. Some think that the practice of scoring machines on human tests is wrongheaded, period, and should be ditched.

“There’s a lot of anthropomorphizing going on,” she says. “And that’s kind of coloring the way that we think about these systems and how we test them.”

“There is a long history of developing methods to test the human mind,” says Laura Weidinger, a senior research scientist at Google DeepMind. “With large language models producing text that seems so human-like, it is tempting to assume that human psychology tests will be useful for evaluating them. But that’s not true: human psychology tests rely on many assumptions that may not hold for large language models.”


We Analyzed Millions of ChatGPT User Sessions: Visits are Down 29% since May, Programming Assistance is 30% of Use — from sparktoro.com by Rand Fishkin

In concert with the fine folks at Datos, whose opt-in, anonymized panel of 20M devices (desktop and mobile, covering 200+ countries) provides outstanding insight into what real people are doing on the web, we undertook a challenging project to answer at least some of the mystery surrounding ChatGPT.



Crypto in ‘arms race’ against AI-powered scams — Quantstamp co-founder — from cointelegraph.com by Tom Mitchelhill
Quantstamp’s Richard Ma explained that the coming surge in sophisticated AI phishing scams could pose an existential threat to crypto organizations.

With the field of artificial intelligence evolving at near breakneck speed, scammers now have access to tools that can help them execute highly sophisticated attacks en masse, warns the co-founder of Web3 security firm Quantstamp.


 

Don’t Be Fooled: How You Can Master Media Literacy in the Digital Age — from youtube.com by Professor Sue Ellen Christian

During this special keynote presentation, Western Michigan University (WMU) professor Sue Ellen Christian speaks about the importance of media literacy for all ages and how we can help educate our friends and families about media literacy principles. Hosted by the Grand Rapids Public Library and GRTV, a program of the Grand Rapids Community Media Center. Special thanks to the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation for their support of this program.

Excerpts:

Media Literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media in a variety of forms. Center for Media Literacy

5 things to do when confronted with concerns about content.


Also relevant/see:

Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s newest exhibit teaches community about media literacy — from mlive.com by Gabi Broekema

 

10 Charts That Capture How the World Is Changing (July 2023) — from digitalnative.substack.com by Rex Woodbury
From Higher Education to AI Art, Therapy to Venture Capital Funding

The charts this week again cover a broad range of themes—

  1. Confidence in Higher Education
  2. Confidence in Institutions
  3. AI Mania
  4. Is Art Created by AI Still Art?
  5. A Venture Capital Reset
  6. The Highs and Lows of Threads
  7. More Americans Are Living Alone
  8. Therapy Goes Mainstream
  9. Secondhand Explosion
  10. A Climate Reckoning
 


From DSC:
The Bible talks about listening quite frequently. The authors ask people to listen to what is being communicated.

Proverbs 16:20
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.

Unfortunately, it often involves people NOT listening to the LORD and/or to others and, instead, going their/our own way. In my own life, things don’t go so well when I do that. I think the same is true on a more general/corporate level as well.

For example, Israel in ancient days thought and behaved this way too. Read 1 Kings and 2 Kings to see what I mean. They didn’t listen to the LORD. They didn’t listen to instruction. They thought they knew it all. They didn’t give credit to Whom credit was due. They made up their own gods and worshipped the things that they created.

The LORD wanted to bless them — and us. But they didn’t — and we still don’t — want to listen and submit to His will at times (even though His will is meant to BLESS US).

I used to see the LORD looking down from heaven, with a stern or disappointed look on His face. He was tapping His foot, and had His arms folded. I imagined Him saying, “Daniel, get your stuff together!!!” I didn’t see Him as being on my team.

Through the years He has shown me that He IS on my team and that He is active in my heart, mind, and life. He is full of grace, truth, patience, forgiveness, vulnerable love, and wisdom. He’s awesome. I love Him and His ways — but that’s taken me decades to be able to say that.

He wants what is best for us. He gave us gifts and wants us to use those gifts to serve others.

 

Below comments/notes are from DSC (with thanks to Roberto Ferraro for this resource):
according to Dan Pink, intrinsic motivation is very powerful — much more powerful for many types of “messy/unclear” cognitive work (vs. clear, more mechanical types of work). What’s involved here according to Pink? Autonomy, mastery, and purpose. 

Dan Pink makes his case in the video below. My question is:

  • If this is true, how might this be applied to education/training/lifelong learning?

From DSC (cont’d):

As Dan mentions, we each know this to be true. For example, for each of our kids, my wife and I introduced them to a variety of things — music, sports, art, etc. We kept waiting for them to discover which thing(s) that THEY wanted to pursue. Perhaps we’ll find out that this was the wrong thing to do. but according to Pink, it’s aligned with the type of energy and productivity that gets released when we pursue something that we want to pursue. Plus creativity flows in this type of setting. 

Again, my thanks to Roberto Ferraro for resurfacing this item as his “One ‘must read’ for this week” item of his newsletter.


Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

 

Trend No. 3: The business model faces a full-scale transformation — from www2.deloitte.com by Cole Clark, Megan Cluver, and Jeffrey J. Selingo
The traditional business model of higher education is broken as institutions can no longer rely on rising tuition among traditional students as the primary driver of revenue.

Excerpt:

Yet the opportunities for colleges and universities that shift their business model to a more student-centric one, serving the needs of a wider diversity of learners at different stages of their lives and careers, are immense. Politicians and policymakers are looking for solutions to the demographic cliff facing the workforce and the need to upskill and reskill generations of workers in an economy where the half-life of skills is shrinking. This intersection of needs—higher education needs students; the economy needs skilled workers—means that colleges and universities, if they execute on the right set of strategies, could play a critical role in developing the workforce of the future. For many colleges, this shift will require a significant rethinking of mission and structure as many institutions weren’t designed for workforce development and many faculty don’t believe it’s their job to get students a job. But if a set of institutions prove successful on this front, they could in the process improve the public perception of higher education, potentially leading to more political and financial support for growing this evolving business model in the future.

Also see:

Trend No. 2: The value of the degree undergoes further questioning — from www2.deloitte.com by Cole Clark, Megan Cluver, and Jeffrey J. Selingo
The perceived value of higher education has fallen as the skills needed to keep up in a job constantly change and learners have better consumer information on outcomes.

Excerpt:

Higher education has yet to come to grips with the trade-offs that students and their families are increasingly weighing with regard to obtaining a four-year degree.

But the problem facing the vast majority of colleges and universities is that they are no longer perceived to be the best source for the skills employers are seeking. This is especially the case as traditional degrees are increasingly competing with a rising tide of microcredentials, industry-based certificates, and well-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.

Trend No. 1: College enrollment reaches its peak — from www2.deloitte.com by Cole Clark, Megan Cluver, and Jeffrey J. Selingo
Enrollment rates in higher education have been declining in the United States over the years as other countries catch up.

Excerpt:

Higher education in the United States has only known growth for generations. But enrollment of traditional students has been falling for more than a decade, especially among men, putting pressure both on the enrollment pipeline and on the work ecosystem it feeds. Now the sector faces increased headwinds as other countries catch up with the aggregate number of college-educated adults, with China and India expected to surpass the United States as the front runners in educated populations within the next decade or so.

Plus the other trends listed here >>


Also related to higher education, see the following items:


Number of Colleges in Distress Is Up 70% From 2012 — from bloomberg.com by Nic Querolo (behind firewall)
More schools see falling enrollement and tuition revenue | Small private, public colleges most at risk, report show

About 75% of students want to attend college — but far fewer expect to actually go — from highereddive.com by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf

There Is No Going Back: College Students Want a Live, Remote Option for In-Person Classes — from campustechnology.com by Eric Paljug

Excerpt:

Based on a survey of college students over the last three semesters, students understand that remotely attending a lecture via remote synchronous technology is less effective for them than attending in person, but they highly value the flexibility of this option of attending when they need it.

Future Prospects and Considerations for AR and VR in Higher Education Academic Technology — from er.educause.edu by Owen McGrath, Chris Hoffman and Shawna Dark
Imagining how the future might unfold, especially for emerging technologies like AR and VR, can help prepare for what does end up happening.

Black Community College Enrollment is Plummeting. How to Get Those Students Back — from the74million.org by Karen A. Stout & Francesca I. Carpenter
Stout & Carpenter: Schools need a new strategy to bolster access for learners of color who no longer see higher education as a viable pathway

As the Level Up coalition reports ,“the vast majority — 80% — of Black Americans believe that college is unaffordable.” This is not surprising given that Black families have fewer assets to pay for college and, as a result, incur significantly more student loan debt than their white or Latino peers. This is true even at the community college level. Only one-third of Black students are able to earn an associate degree without incurring debt. 

Repairing Gen Ed | Colleges struggle to help students answer the question, ‘Why am I taking this class?’ — from chronicle.com by Beth McMurtrie
Students Are Disoriented by Gen Ed. So Colleges Are Trying to Fix It.

Excerpts:

Less than 30 percent of college graduates are working in a career closely related to their major, and the average worker has 12 jobs in their lifetime. That means, he says, that undergraduates must learn to be nimble and must build transferable skills. Why can’t those skills and ways of thinking be built into general education?

“Anyone paying attention to the nonacademic job market,” he writes, “will know that skills, rather than specific majors, are the predominant currency.”

Micro-credentials Survey. 2023 Trends and Insights. — from holoniq.com
HolonIQ’s 2023 global survey on micro-credentials

3 Keys to Making Microcredentials Valid for Learners, Schools, and Employers — from campustechnology.com by Dave McCool
To give credentials value in the workplace, the learning behind them must be sticky, visible, and scalable.

Positive Partnership: Creating Equity in Gateway Course Success — from insidehighered.com by Ashley Mowreader
The Gardner Institute’s Courses and Curricula in Urban Ecosystems initiative works alongside institutions to improve success in general education courses.

American faith in higher education is declining: one poll — from bryanalexander.org by Bryan Alexander

Excerpt:

The main takeaway is that our view of higher education’s value is souring.  Fewer of us see post-secondary learning as worth the cost, and now a majority think college and university degrees are no longer worth it: “56% of Americans think earning a four-year degree is a bad bet compared with 42% who retain faith in the credential.”

Again, this is all about one question in one poll with a small n. But it points to directions higher ed and its national setting are headed in, and we should think hard about how to respond.


 
 

Nurturing student learning and motivation through the application of cognitive science — from deansforimpact.org by Cece Zhou

Excerpt:

In particular, TutorND’s emphasis on applying principles of cognitive science – the science of our how minds work – in tutoring practice has not only bolstered the interest and confidence of some of its tutors to pursue teaching, but also strengthened their instructional skills and meaningfully contributed to PK-12 student growth.

Today, TutorND trains and supports 175 tutors in schools across the greater South Bend community and across the country. Given that these tutors are students, faculty, and staff interested in cognitive science research and its application to student learning, they’re able to bridge theory and practice, assess the effectiveness of instructional moves, and foster learning experiences for students that are rigorous, affirming, and equitable.

 

DC: Other potential curricula would involve instructional design and instructional technology (which now includes using AI).

 

Competition Can Motivate, Encourage and Inspire Students. But It Can Also Harm Them. — from edsurge.com by Patrick Harris II

Excerpt:

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines competition as “any performance situation structured in such a way that success depends on performing better than others.” Naturally, this could create challenges in a school setting, but in my experience, whether innate or as a product of a structure, competition itself isn’t always problematic. In fact, some studies confirm that competition has benefits, though they vary based on the individual and the competition.

Competition can be thrilling and motivating to those who choose to engage. But it’s important to remember that competition is not a golden key to unlock student engagement. Depending on how we use it, competition can also cause harm, such as anxiety, low self-esteem or negative feelings of self-worth.

For every student who was celebrated, there was another student who, by design, was shamed.

Looking back, these competitions weren’t used to teach students sportsmanship or resilience. They were used as gimmicks and antics to “motivate” students. I now recognize that I played a part in reinforcing a system of inequity by awarding those students who were already privileged.

From DSC:
I appreciate Patrick’s balanced article here — mentioning both the potential advantages and disadvantages of using competitive activities in the classroom.

I’m also going to comment on the topic of competition but from a different perspective. One that involves my faith journey and relationships.

I used to play a lot of sports and I played one sport at the university level. I mention this to establish that I’ve had my share of competition. In my experience, competition was anti-relational. That could have been just my perspective, but perhaps others share this perspective as well.

That is, I viewed people as to be competed against…not to be in relationships with. When my identity was tied up with my sport, that was ok. But as my identity changed in my senior year, it was not ok. When I became a Christian (in faith), my identity shifted big time. And the LORD wanted me to be in relationships with other people. Competition didn’t help that part of my journey.

As an aside, competition was also encouraged in terms of grades and performance in school — including at the university level. Several professors put our results up on the walls outside their offices — clearly showing everyone where they stood in the class. And I saw competition in the corporate world all the time as well. So while it’s something we here in the United States practice big time, it does seem to have its plusses and minuses. 

 

Why Studying Is So Hard, and What Teachers Can Do to Help — from edutopia.org by Laura McKenna
Beginning in the upper elementary grades, research-backed study skills should be woven into the curriculum, argues psychology professor Daniel Willingham in a new book.

Excerpt:

The additional context for Willingham’s new book is that students often don’t know the best methods to study for tests, master complex texts, or take productive notes, and it’s difficult to explain to them why they should take a different tack. In the book, Willingham debunks popular myths about the best study strategies, explains why they don’t work, and recommends effective strategies that are based on the latest research in cognitive science.

I recently spoke to him about why listening to lectures isn’t like watching a movie, how our self-monitoring of learning is often flawed and self-serving, and when it’s too late to start teaching students good study skills.

 

Introducing: ChatGPT Edu-Mega-Prompts — from drphilippahardman.substack.com by Dr. Philippa Hardman; with thanks to Ray Schroeder out on LinkedIn for this resource
How to combine the power of AI + learning science to improve your efficiency & effectiveness as an educator

From DSC:
Before relaying some excerpts, I want to say that I get the gist of what Dr. Hardman is saying re: quizzes. But I’m surprised to hear she had so many pedagogical concerns with quizzes. I, too, would like to see quizzes used as an instrument of learning and to practice recall — and not just for assessment. But I would give quizzes a higher thumbs up than what she did. I think she was also trying to say that quizzes don’t always identify misconceptions or inaccurate foundational information. 

Excerpts:

The Bad News: Most AI technologies that have been built specifically for educators in the last few years and months imitate and threaten to spread the use of broken instructional practices (i.e. content + quiz).

The Good News: Armed with prompts which are carefully crafted to ask the right thing in the right way, educators can use AI like GPT3 to improve the effectiveness of their instructional practices.

As is always the case, ChatGPT is your assistant. If you’re not happy with the result, you can edit and refine it using your expertise, either alone or through further conversation with ChatGPT.

For example, once the first response is generated, you can ask ChatGPT to make the activity more or less complex, to change the scenario and/or suggest more or different resources – the options are endless.

Philippa recommended checking out Rob Lennon’s streams of content. Here’s an example from his Twitter account:


Also relevant/see:

3 trends that may unlock AI's potential for Learning and Development in 2023

3 Trends That May Unlock AI’s Potential for L&D in 2023 — from learningguild.com by Juan Naranjo

Excerpts:

AI-assisted design and development work
This is the trend most likely to have a dramatic evolution this year.

Solutions like large language models, speech generators, content generators, image generators, translation tools, transcription tools, and video generators, among many others, will transform the way IDs create the learning experiences our organizations use. Two examples are:

1. IDs will be doing more curation and less creation:

  • Many IDs will start pulling raw material from content generators (built using natural language processing platforms like Open AI’s GPT-3, Microsoft’s LUIS, IBM’s Watson, Google’s BERT, etc.) to obtain ideas and drafts that they can then clean up and add to the assets they are assembling. As technology advances, the output from these platforms will be more suitable to become final drafts, and the curation and clean-up tasks will be faster and easier.
  • Then, the designer can leverage a solution like DALL-E 2 (or a product developed based on it) to obtain visuals that can (or not) be modified with programs like Illustrator or Photoshop (see image below for Dall-E’s “Cubist interpretation of AI and brain science.”

2. IDs will spend less, and in some cases no time at all, creating learning pathways

AI engines contained in LXPs and other platforms will select the right courses for employees and guide these learners from their current level of knowledge and skill to their goal state with substantially less human intervention.

 


The Creator of ChatGPT Thinks AI Should Be Regulated — from time.com by John Simons

Excerpts:

Somehow, Mira Murati can forthrightly discuss the dangers of AI while making you feel like it’s all going to be OK.

A growing number of leaders in the field are warning of the dangers of AI. Do you have any misgivings about the technology?

This is a unique moment in time where we do have agency in how it shapes society. And it goes both ways: the technology shapes us and we shape it. There are a lot of hard problems to figure out. How do you get the model to do the thing that you want it to do, and how you make sure it’s aligned with human intention and ultimately in service of humanity? There are also a ton of questions around societal impact, and there are a lot of ethical and philosophical questions that we need to consider. And it’s important that we bring in different voices, like philosophers, social scientists, artists, and people from the humanities.


Whispers of A.I.’s Modular Future — from newyorker.com by James Somers; via Sam DeBrule

Excerpts:

Gerganov adapted it from a program called Whisper, released in September by OpenAI, the same organization behind ChatGPTand dall-e. Whisper transcribes speech in more than ninety languages. In some of them, the software is capable of superhuman performance—that is, it can actually parse what somebody’s saying better than a human can.

Until recently, world-beating A.I.s like Whisper were the exclusive province of the big tech firms that developed them.

Ever since I’ve had tape to type up—lectures to transcribe, interviews to write down—I’ve dreamed of a program that would do it for me. The transcription process took so long, requiring so many small rewindings, that my hands and back would cramp. As a journalist, knowing what awaited me probably warped my reporting: instead of meeting someone in person with a tape recorder, it often seemed easier just to talk on the phone, typing up the good parts in the moment.

From DSC:
Journalism majors — and even seasoned journalists — should keep an eye on this type of application, as it will save them a significant amount of time and/or money.

Microsoft Teams Premium: Cut costs and add AI-powered productivity — from microsoft.com by Nicole Herskowitz

Excerpt:

Built on the familiar, all-in-one collaborative experience of Microsoft Teams, Teams Premium brings the latest technologies, including Large Language Models powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3.5, to make meetings more intelligent, personalized, and protected—whether it’s one-on-one, large meetings, virtual appointments, or webinars.


 
 

Learn Smarter Podcast — from learnsmarterpodcast.com

Learn Smarter Podcast educates, encourages and expands understanding for parents of students with different learning profiles through growing awareness of educational therapy, individualized strategies, community support, coaching, and educational content.

Learn Smarter Podcast educates, encourages and expands understanding for parents of students with different learning profiles through growing awareness of educational therapy, individualized strategies, community support, coaching, and educational content.

Somewhat along these lines…for some other resources related to the science of learning, see cogx.info’s research database:

Scientific Literature Supporting COGx Programs
COGx programs involve translation of research from over 500 scientific sources. The scientific literature below is a subset of the literature we have used and organized by subject area to facilitate access. In addition, we have worked directly with some of the authors of the scientific literature to help us translate and co-create our programs. Many of the scientific papers cited below were written by COGx Academic Partners.

Topics include:

    • Information Processing
    • Executive Function
    • Long-Term Memory
    • Metacognition
    • Emotions & Engagement
    • Cognitive Diversity

Also see:

USEFUL LEARNING WITH EFRAT FURST (S3E10)  — from edcircuit.com with Efrat Furst, Tom Sherrington, and Emma Turner

Bringing the science of learning to teachers

 


 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian