🙋‍♂️ ChatGPT usage linked to memory loss, low-hanging fruit, and the smell of education – Of bits and bytes for April 1, 2024

Internet Travels

Of bits and bytes is my weekly round up of interesting links and ideas I discovered on the internet. It is published on Mondays for the previous week

I despise April 1st on the internet. Too many sites believing their too clever and posting what they believe is the greatest prank of all. In reality, it’s a day where my newsfeed is full of terrible jokes and nothing of substance. And do you know who I blame for all of this? Google’s Gmail announcement 20 years ago. The news release is pretty good though. At the time, Yahoo! only offered 4MB of storage, and the king of free email in 2004, Hotmail, offered 2MB. That is the essence of a good April Fool’s joke, outrageous but on the periphery of the possibility of being true.

Twenty years of Gmail. Wow.

What is lost is that by the time they were ready to publicly release it, the selling point was that your amount of storage would continually increase. Never run out of email space indeed. At the time Google was claiming that it could offer storage for under $2 a gigabyte. Twenty years later and the price per gigabyte from Google is less than $.05/gigabyte (yes, a nickel a gigabyte). The increasing of space looks like it was phased out around 2012.


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Quote of the week

…we’re nowhere near the point where an AI can do your job, but we’re well past the point where your boss can be suckered into firing you and replacing you with a bot that fails at doing your job

I assure you, an AI didn’t write a terrible “George Carlin” routine | by Cory Doctorow | Jan, 2024 | Medium

ChatGPT – procrastination, decline in academic performance, and memory loss?!?

I could see ChatGPT being associated with students procrastinating and causing a decline in academic performace, but I did not see “also causes memory” loss. However, the study did not find that ChatGPT use affected the quality of the work.

Studies are showing that ChatGPT writing is “bland and journalistic”, making it easy to spot. The research goes into different “tells” for AI writing which are things I do all of the time! I will die on the hill of consistent Oxford comma usage.

But, what about AI playing games? It can be taught to play battleship, just don’t expect it to play it well.

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WHEN I WAS A KID… I thought the AI in video games were real people playing against me hired, by the game company – Confession kid – quickmeme

Bias

John Schinker looks into how biases of news sources have changed over the years. This is interesting to me because I’ve been following @jordanismylawyer on TikTok where she claims to be unbiased but will post videos when she has questioned her own bias. Besides the issue of context, she also has to contend with the English language itself.

My solution? I read from several news sources and look for commonality.

Short takes

Just taking care of the “low hanging fruit” in an organization is not going to make the organization successful. Sure, taking care of the easy stuff seems like you’re making progress, but things worth doing are rarely easy.

Findings that won’t come as a surprise to middle school teachers, a study has show that toddlers smell like flowers while teens smell ‘Goatlike’ (Archive).

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It Has an Odd Smell, Check its Diaper

Pedagogy

MIT Raising Teens is a site with all sorts of resources and research on the parenting of teenagers.

More research on why it’s good to fail.

Technology

AI can help artists be more productive, but at the cost of originality. My fear is that Wal-mart has taught a nation that good enough is enough, which means we are probably heading toward an AI future of mediocrity.

The headline says “Cell phones are now banned in Indiana school classrooms” but the reality is very different. The bill targets ALL wireless communication devices and requires districts to come up with a policy on their use in the classroom. For most districts, nothing will change except that they can ban students having cellphones in class and blame it on the state.

Whenever someone talks about “XYZ” is going to be the downfall of society, I remind myself that they said that about pencil erasers, rock and roll, and TV. Cellphones are the latest. I disagree with them causing the downfall of society and am more inline with the fact that we’re still learning how to use them.

I have no idea how I stumbled on Giles Turnbull’s site, but after reading about his talk at the University College of London I’m glad I did:

The bad news: people don’t read, people don’t listen, people don’t care as much about your work as you do. The good news: writing about your work in ways that reflect that reality isn’t technically difficult – it just needs a change of thinking.

Tips

As near as I can tell, Firefox added the ability to annotate PDFs in fall of 2022 and I’m just learning about it now! When you open a PDF in Firefox, you’ll see three editing tools in the upper right corner:

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  • Add a text box
  • Draw
  • Add an image (I’ve been using this to add a scanned image of my signature to PDFs)

Although the tools are pretty bare bones, they’re very useful.

Pop Culture

Who would have thought that students would start having PowerPoint parties once they hit the real world?

I firmly believe that a quick route to happiness is by having a hobby, or in this case, revisiting your childhood hobbies.

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A New Hobby

Potpourri

Did social media kill the web or was it something else? Social media has been blamed for a lot, but research is showing that the level of discourse on the internet has been pretty consistent since its inception.

Next Monday is the last total solar eclipse for the US until 2045. The center of totality is 6 miles from my house, so the event is pretty cool. Growing up I always thought it would be neat to have a solar eclipse where I live, and now I get to experience it. My family and I drove down to Kentucky for the one in 2017, so in the span of 7 years I’ll get to see two of them!

Extra Credit

Here are extra links that I found interesting that may or may not be education related or interesting to you and I didn’t want to lose them.


By design, the vast majority of Of Bits and Bytes readers never pay anything for the links, commentary, and tips it provides. But you made it all the way to the end of this week’s edition — maybe not for the first time. Want to support more journalism like what you read today? If so, click here.

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