AI’s impact on education

Zayn Patel
5 min readFeb 23, 2023

A reflection on the question: What are your thoughts about AI’s impact on education? Written as if I were responding at a fireside chat.

I’d ask ‘what are people already stitching together that a company hasn’t built’ and I think the answer is ChatGPT pairing with YouTube. Youtube is to lectures as chatgpt is to office hours. And if we don’t think about education as a system and think about it as a simplified term for increase knowledge of the human, this does the job. You can test yourself with ChatGPT. I frequently ask it to give me programming problems and I work through them, submit my answer and get feedback. I could arguably do this without ChatGPT via a textbook and its practice problems but that’s in a static state where the “tutoring” is already in the textbook and it’s not changing. ChatGPT is in an active state because the “tutoring” evolves as I ask more questions and go deeper on a concept I missed. More importantly, ChatGPT allows me to ask why and get an answer instead of asking why and writing in the course forum or googling. Online courses haven’t worked for several reasons but I think the inability to contact a teacher through an OH session is one of the non-obvious reasons.

The question could arise, how do we credential this learning? It’s happening off-campus so isn’t it impossible to award credit hours that contribute to a degree. Youtube is changing this (https://bit.ly/3XVpdfS) and the concept of crypto credentials or authority verification or peer-to-peer verification also exist. They’re non-traditional forms of credentialing for education but traditional for developers. For example, authority verification is getting a maintainer on an open source project to approve 5 of your pull requests. Your contribution, if meaningful, can be shown on your GitHub repository with public view of the PR sent and approved w/comments of “good code” or “clean functions.” Fundamentally, a credential verifies knowledge. To meaningfully contribute to an open source project, we can assume a developer has knowledge. This isn’t equivalent to a CS degree but should be valued more than it currently is. Peer-to-peer verification happens in hiring developer talent into companies. For example, my friend Nicolas Gatien (he was in grade 11) was hired to work as a python developer for a startup and the only thing the employer reviewed was his GitHub. No grades or school credential, just how clean his code was. These activities happen off-campus without the adoption of traditional education but they are a form of credential and…

--

--

Zayn Patel

Working on space technology and policy, improving government with data science, and launching a cubesat mission.