Hello! We return with another additional edition of In technology: AIa pop-up newsletter that teaches you about artificial intelligence, how it works, and how to use it.
Last week, I went over how to turn your chatbot into a life coach. Now let’s move on to an area where many have been experimenting with AI since last year: education.
Generative AI’s specialty is language, guessing what word comes next, and students quickly realized they could use ChatGPT and other chatbots to write essays. That created an awkward situation in many classrooms. As it turns out, it’s easy to get caught cheating with generative AI because it’s prone to making things up, a phenomenon known as “hallucination.”
But the generative AI can also be used as a study assistant. Some tools highlight long research articles and even answer questions about the material. Others may assemble study aids such as quizzes and flashcards.
One caveat to keep in mind: when studying, it’s critical that the information is correct, and for the most accurate results, you should direct your AI tools to focus on information from trusted sources rather than pulling data from the entire population. Web. I’ll go over how to do that below.
First, let’s explore one of the most daunting study tasks: reading and annotating long documents. Some AI tools, such as Humata.AI, Wordtune Reading and various plugins within ChatGPT act as research assistants that will summarize documents for you.
I prefer Humata.AI because it answers your questions and shows the highlights directly within the source material, allowing you to check for accuracy.
On the Humata.AI website, I uploaded a PDF of a scientific research paper on the accuracy of smartwatches in tracking cardiovascular exercise. I then clicked the “Ask” button and asked how the Garmin watches performed in the study. Scrolled down to the relevant part of the document that mentions Garmin, highlighted, and answered my question.
What was most interesting to me was when I asked the bot if my understanding of the paper was correct: that on average, wearables like Garmins and Fitbits track cardiovascular activity fairly accurately, but there were some people whose results were seriously off. “Yes, you’re right,” the bot replied. He continued with a summary of the study and listed the page numbers where this conclusion was mentioned.
Generative AI can also help with rote memorization. While any chatbot will generate flashcards or quizzes if you paste the information you’re studying, I decided to use ChatGPT because it includes plugins that generate study aids that are pulled from specific documents or web articles.
(Only subscribers who pay $20 a month for ChatGPT Plus can use plugins. We explain how to use them in a previous newsletter.)
I wanted ChatGPT to create flashcards to learn Chinese vocabulary words. To do this, I installed two plugins: Link Reader, which allowed me to tell the bot to use data from a specific website, and MetaMentor, a plugin that automatically generates flashcards.
In the ChatGPT dashboard, I selected both plugins. So, I wrote this notice:
Act as guardian. I am a native English speaker learning Chinese. Take the vocabulary words and phrases from this link and create a set of flashcards for each one: https://preply.com/en/blog/basic-chinese-words/
About five minutes later, the bot responded with a link where I could download the cards. They were exactly what I ordered.
Next, I wanted my tutor to give me a test. I told ChatGPT that I was studying for the written test to get my California motorcycle license. Again, using the Link Reader plugin, I pasted in a link to the latest California DMV motorcycle manual (an important step because traffic laws vary between states and the rules are updated occasionally) and asked for a multiple-choice test.
The bot processed the information within the manual and produced a quiz, asking me five questions at a time.
Finally, to test my understanding of the topic, I instructed ChatGPT to ask me questions without presenting multiple-choice answers. The bot adapted accordingly, and I passed the quiz.
I would have loved to have these tools when I was in school. And I probably would have gotten better grades with them as study partners.
Next week, in the final installment of this newsletter, we’ll take everything we’ve learned and apply it to enrich the time we spend with our families.