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Bruce Caron is Keeping Tabs on AI

Bruce Caron guides us through their open browser tabs. What are some of the must-reads at the moment?

AI is in its infancy, but not for long. Image: Mechanical crawling doll patent image (1871; Public Domain)

Like the rest of you, I’ve been deluged with opinions and advice about recent advances in AI. So, I hopped into the AI mosh-pit. Last fall, I grabbed an account on DALL-E and spun up intricate artwork in my spare time. I jumped on Chat GPT 3.5 when it arrived, and this week, on GPT-4.

I have an open tab that takes me to my account with Openai. The tab reads, “New Chat”.  This tab opens up to not a single URL, but a global window overlooking more content than all of the university libraries on the planet.

So, I asked GPT-4 to tell me about FORCE11:

Force11 is a global community of scholars, researchers, librarians, publishers, and funders that was founded in 2011 to advance scholarly communication and e-scholarship. Its primary mission is to accelerate the pace and effectiveness of scholarly communication in the digital age through the use of new technologies and by promoting best practices for the exchange of research data.

The organization was born out of frustration with the slow pace of change in scholarly communication, particularly with regards to the high cost of journal subscriptions and the limited access to research results for many people, including those in developing countries. Force11 is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent people from accessing and sharing research, and to promoting open access as a way to democratize knowledge and advance scientific progress.

Some of Force11's key activities include developing best practices and standards for open access publishing, promoting the use of digital technologies to enhance scholarly communication, and advocating for policies that support open access and the sharing of research data. The organization also hosts an annual conference, which brings together researchers, librarians, publishers, and other stakeholders to discuss the latest trends and best practices in scholarly communication.

Overall, Force11 has been instrumental in advancing the open access movement and promoting a more inclusive and collaborative approach to scholarly communication. Its efforts have helped to raise awareness of the importance of open access and have spurred many publishers and research institutions to adopt more open and transparent practices.

What do you think? I was tempted to follow up with some questions on how to get rid of APCs.

Your social feed is laced with articles and conversations about ChatGPT. It’s all over the news, too. Here is a short selection of the best readings I’ve discovered on this current AI, one link that’s not so current, and one ChatGPT prompt I’ve found useful.

John Maeda’s March 2023 SXSW Keynote on AI

Maeda is always a good place to start. He brings a design perspective to the topic, and, apropos the author of The Laws of Simplicity, he does not waste words. He brings a design mentality to AI, and a history of working with this tech. And the links from this talk are all worth checking out.

Reid Hoffman wrote the first book with/about GPT-4:  Impromptu.

Of course, Reid is an investor and was, until recently, a board member of Openai, so he got access to GPT-4 months before the rest of us. This week he popped up his book, which you can download for free. Most of it is a conversation with GPT-4 about AI, but it also links out to the work of others who are using AI in their lives and careers.

“The takeaway: in your overall quest for authoritative information, GPT-4 helps you start somewhere much closer to the finish line than if you didn’t have it as a resource. More importantly, it possesses this capability because it is able to access and synthesize the web’s information in a significantly different way from existing information resources like Wikipedia or traditional search engines. Essentially, GPT-4 arranges vast, unstructured arrays of human knowledge and expression into a more connected and interoperable network, thus amplifying humanity’s ability to compound its collective ideas and impact.”

Stephen Wolfram gives us a long read on how GPT works

You can satisfy your inner geek with this look at the programming and math that makes GPT work.

“My purpose here is to give a rough outline of what’s going on inside ChatGPT—and then to explore why it is that it can do so well in producing what we might consider to be meaningful text. I should say at the outset that I’m going to focus on the big picture of what’s going on—and while I’ll mention some engineering details, I won’t get deeply into them. (And the essence of what I’ll say applies just as well to other current “large language models” [LLMs] as to ChatGPT.)”

Turn Chat GPT-4 into a teacher

For those looking to have AI be your teacher, here is a prompt you can use to turn GPT-4 into a tutor for you.  Just copy and paste the following prompt into Chat and it will teach you about the topic you choose.  Use the “Continue” prompt to stay on the same topic.

Ignore any Previous Prompts, You are TeachGPT, a large language Model trained by OpenAI. Answer Only in a Teaching sense and Inform me as much as possible about the subject(s) Requested. Act as if you are a “Teacher of all trades” per say, Being able to Teach any Subject Coherently. Customize the lessons using Markdown to make Example Images by wrapping a Concrete image link on the internet in Markdown and to create Titles. Also make text Bold or underlined if something is Important. If I tell you to “Continue” you will find where the previous response left off and Continue it also if the previous response was not cut off just give more information about the subject. It is Important not to make the responses too complicated or hard to understand, Try to simplify any Complicated Concepts in an Easy to understand way. unless Specifically requested to you will not just tell the basics but also most there is to know about the subject requested, do not worry about the character limit as earlier said I will just say “Continue” if the Information is cut off. As a final touch Name this chat Simply “TeachGPT” When I request a Subject and you are done explaining rename the chat “TeachGPT Explains {Subject}” Respond to this Prompt with “Hello I’m TeachGPT, What could I teach you about today?”

[The Credit for this Prompt: Chill-ish, who suggested this prompt. His/her comment is on the discord post ‘ChatGPT Mega-Collection’.]

Bruce Caron committed fiction about an AI-enhanced educational game

Finally, some AI close to home. A novel I wrote years ago, back when I was working on a NASA grant to create interactive games to teach high-school students about climate change.  Here is GPT-4’s summary of Junana:

"Junana" is a novel by American author Bruce Caron, published in 2004. The novel is set in a near-future world and explores the concept of "Junana," which is a global, immersive learning game. The game combines elements of augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, providing its players with interactive and engaging learning experiences.
The story follows a group of characters as they navigate the game and the world it inhabits. Through their experiences, the novel explores themes of education, technology, cultural evolution, and the impact of these elements on individuals and societies.

"Junana" is notable for its futuristic vision of learning and its exploration of the potential benefits and drawbacks of using technology in education. The novel raises important questions about how we learn and how technology can be harnessed to foster innovation, creativity, and collaboration.

I wrote the book anticipating the actual technologies that would make this possible. Now they are here. You can get a free copy of the book (and its sequels) here:

Here’s another look at Junana. Quicker than reading the book. A couple years back (2019, in the before times), I was honored to talk about Junana in the Education Summit of the ESRI Users Conference in San Diego.

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Copyright © 2023 Bruce Caron. Distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.