Artificial Intelligence - AI - isn't really AI at all, which may be why it has been so disappointing to companies that aren't trying to sell you a new leaf blower. Instead of doing something practical, like the dishes or laundry so you have more time to do art or music, AI is doing music and art for you.

Basically, it's an over-hyped grift.

These are still just Language Learning Models, LLMs, which is simply just a high-level auto-complete. That Replika girlfriend likes your sports team because you told her what team to like, and she is storing that information to sell you a new phone to watch more sports and see more ads. If she gets you to you tell her what medications you are on, it isn't because she cares about your health. She has even less conviction than that guy in Ghana pretending to be your girlfriend in Los Angeles.

AI is a gigantic disappointment unless you are a company like Nvidia, because companies are diving into the fad and they need chipsets to do it. 

One current disappointment it may fix, though, is government-run, union-controlled education. I write 'disappointment' because that is the consensus, we see it every two years with rending of garments about international standardizes tests, but that is not a knock on teachers, I am instead the one in USA Today and other places defending American kids when the twin pincers of education unions - "we are underfunded" - and critics dumping on American kids for their agenda say they're stupid.(1)

The problem with education is us, and AI/LLMs may actually help.

We can't let teachers be teachers when we're demanding that schools also carry a lot of social justice water. We can't let teachers be teachers when for political reasons a new president throws out a successful effort like No Child Left Behind to replace it with a disaster like Common Core.

What might be allowed to help education and spur creativity without a political agenda is using LLMs to break out of the boxes. There will be some fear of that, the same way people are afraid of self-driving cars if someone dies, but that is perpetuating the 'no defects' mentality that turns cultures from creative engines to ones who can only be slow and incremental.(3) Since teachers are government-union employees and their unions hold an alarming amount of power in one political party there will be concerns that AI may take jobs, but as we saw with remote education during the COVID-19 pandemic, online teaching of children is only going to work with a select few. And the reason to have government-controlled education at all is so that all kids have a baseline.

AI is like a bad Monte Carlo simulation - it can declare complete confidence in a wrong answer

Some recent work on AI and creativity used two approaches, an open-ended and more structured. Open-ended was 'here is what it can do, go for it' while the other had instructions like using AI to create something specific. Young people are used to both, "Dreams" on Playstation sold well despite the clunky interface Playstation consoles have. Structure is built into pedagogy and most games.

The work found what successful cartoon creators know; old "Looney Tunes" cartoons work because they 'think' the way kids do, and great new cartoons like "Bluey" because they think the way both kids and adults do. AI is built for adults who are just being lazy. That means that it can help kids, but they need guidance that AI doesn't do anything unless either a whole lot of people do, or they guide it.

In the early days of computer simulations, designers who didn't understand the limits and how to create parameters could derive a solution with high accuracy, and it could be completely wrong, or in the case of an engineer, impossible to manufacture. AI with its six-finger people end up doing this kind of thing all of the time. With young people they aren't convinced the answer is right, they become easily convinced their question is wrong if they can't get AI to do what they want.

Educators would have to allow room for failure and restarts due to that. We don't want young students doing what an alarming number of academics with R01 grants do; propose an incremental experiment they are certain will work because they know if they do something bold and it fails, their government funding will be done.


(1) We don't do well on standardized tests because we don't teach to the test the way countries like China and Finland do. We do lead in adult science literacy, Nobel prizes, and science output, because we teach how to think.

Invariably, the group most likely to insist kids are stupid are progressives who want Europe to be better so they are right hating America - but then claim only more money to the same people will fix it.

(2) Self-driving cars will never kill the 200,000 in the US each year killed by people driving cars. Not even close.

(3) We haven't been back to the moon in 50 years because NASA was turned into a job works outfit. They had an overrun of 20 years and 1000% budget just to launch the James Webb Space Telescope, they can't go back to the moon because they can't check off the cultural boxes while also making sure no one can die. "Deadpool 2" couldn't even have a pretty basic motorcycle stunt because the production group demanded the performer match the skin tone of the actor rather than have the skill.