What are the real benefits of human educators vs. ChatGPT?

Interesting claims in this presentation about teacher strengths relative to AI: https://sway.cloud.microsoft/CqKZjoSsoTvWoTMB?ref=Link

I’m assessing each one by one below.

“Teacher Strengths in Relation to language model ChatGPT:”

“Artificial intelligence is an efficient tool that can support teachers in many ways, but it cannot replace many of the important tasks and roles of teachers.”

>> ok

“Human Interaction and Empathy: Teachers understand their students’ feelings and needs, support them in challenges, and celebrate their successes. AI cannot replicate genuine empathy or human interaction.”

>> AI can show empathetic understanding. It’s also much more polite than most teachers. Students feel no anxiety or stress or fear of being labeled stupid when talking to an AI.

>> so, it’s not evident humans have any communicational advantages mentioned in this point

“Individualized Guidance: Teachers can assess and respond to students’ individual needs, strengths, and challenges. While AI can support personalized learning, it does not understand students’ unique contexts in the same way as a teacher.”

>> this is false. Teachers often do not address each student’s needs individually — in fact, this almost NEVER takes place in university education

>> AI, in turn, is much more personalized. Literally, every answer it gives is personalized based on the prompt.

“Critical Thinking: Teachers can critically evaluate information and teach students how to do the same. AI cannot engage in critical thinking or create new knowledge.”

>> it’s not clear whether AI can be critical. With correct prompting, it can demonstrate critical capabilities.

>> of course, that much is true that AI is only one source of information and its typical communication style which is eloquent and fluent can sway students into believing it even when it mistates information

>> so, it’s probably true that human teachers have an advantage here

“Motivation and Inspiration: Teachers can motivate and inspire their students, encourage them to try new things, and support them in facing challenges. AI cannot fulfill the same inspirational and encouraging role.”

>> this also can be true. Students may want to please teachers, especially those that they admire. It’s highly unlikely they’d admire an AI or want to please it in the same way as they want another human.

“Creative Teaching: Teachers can employ creative teaching methods based on their understanding of students and the subject matter. They can adapt on the fly and come up with new ways to present information that resonates with students, whereas AI is limited by its programming or training.”

>> AI isn’t limited by its “programming” — it’s limited by its prompting (when we speak of GenAI). Prompting can be devised to build feedback loops that achieve creativity and adaptability even better than a human teacher. Though we haven’t yet seen much of such implementations, it doesn’t mean the technology would not support them.

“Teaching Values and Ethics: Teachers not only impart knowledge but also teach values and ethics. They can serve as role models and teach students respect, honesty, diligence, and other important life values. AI lacks the ability to feel or convey these values.”

>> well, ethical guardrails are strongly built into LLMs like ChatGPT. Almost any given answer it gives has some kind of normative statement that adheres to currently prevailing societal values and norms. So, I disagree with this. AI can teach ethics just as well as humans, because its understanding of ethics matches that of humans.

“Kindling Motivation and Enthusiasm: Teachers can ignite students’ motivation and enthusiasm for a subject. They can encourage students to surpass themselves and strive for their goals. AI cannot provide such human motivation and encouragement.”

>> the enthusiasm part is true, I’d say. Engaged and inspired teachers can evoke emotional reactions from the students that AI probably cannot. So, this is yet another advantage.

In sum, I’d consider only three to be real benefits of humans vs. AI:

1. Teaching critical thinking

2. Motivating students to do better

3. Inspiring students to get excited about a field.

Oh, and one MAJOR benefit that I forgot: teachers can tell students how things work in the *real world*. For example, when I teach digital marketing, I can tell how companies work, what people actually do when they do digital marketing, etc. I have the human experience of it. ChatGPT can tell the theory but it has never done a digital marketing campaign. So, this benefit is really important.