4×4=8 – or – Your role in the AI revolution.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

A student recently asked , “What’s the point of writing essays, since AI can just do it for us?”

My response, “First, how would you know if it was done correctly?”

Let’s look further…

…”but the internet..”

During my Adult Education days,  teaching Business writing to Project Managers, one exercise involved working with original texts from which the grammar was removed.  We would discuss and replace the grammar according to the rules provided.

At one lesson, the students confronted me that I had been teaching them incorrectly.   They said they found the original text online which was written differently than our calss results.

I then asked them, which rules are wrong that we need to change? They couldn’t find any.

Ok, which of the rules did we not follow correctly?  They couldn’t find any mistakes.

“But the internet said….” was their reply.

So, we discussed the options:

  1. The rules are wrong
  2. We were incorrect in following the rules
  3. The original was written incorrectly.

It took a long time to even consider option #3. How could a published work be wrong?


Is AI Intelligent?

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy

Over a decade later, we find ourselves at the dawn of the AI revolution. An incredible tool that is already starting to replace search engines, which has already replaced reference books.

Gone are the days when we would scour library basement files of microfiche for reference materials from old newspapers and magazines.  Rarely would one find a student today that can process or even recognize the Dewi Decimal System.  Try even asking your Upper Primary or Middle School student to find particular word in a dictionary. It would be difficult.

AI, now available to the masses, can do research, writing, creating music, art, writing and testing code… and even thought. Will this generation, similar to the past, also lose skills: to write, to read, to create and to even think?

Google Gemini, recently came out, the upgrade from Google beta AI Bard.  And at the outset, people have been finding problems.  We recently tested it out with mid-level math:  1/8 = 4 to what power?

Even when corrected, it had a compelling argument to convince me that 4×4=8.

If it can’t calculate correctly, which is a logical construct, how can It be trusted to collate information to code, to write summaries, to interpret texts.

Since the AI itself is code, which is manned and controlled by humans, who is to say the information is correct or isn’t intended to push an agenda?

The positive of this is, for those who are discerning, AI can be an incredible tool.  To those who are intellectually lazy, do don’t like to be challenged, who avoid discomfort of thought, you’ll come to believe not only that  4×4=8, but anything the programmers want you to believe.

If we’re struggling with print, how will we survive AI videos?

Why not let AI do it?

So, back to my student’s question, what’s the point of doing the essay?

Beyond knowing if it’s right, education is in the process of completing a task, more than the task itself.  The essay demonstrates your ability to learn, read, interpret, think and communicate effectively.

Not only, but it also lets the reader understand about you, your perspective, your thought processes, and allows the reader to then engage with you. Not a computer.

If you don’t want to understand,

If you don’t want to think,

If you don’t want a choice,

If you don’t want an identity,

If you don’t want a perspective

If you don’t want a voice,

Then sure, let something else speak for you.

What’s your role in the AI revolution? Think.  Learn how the tool helps you, instead of the tool becoming you.


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