“The military also buys soap and water, but that doesn’t mean soap and water must be boycotted by those who hate war. They also buy pencils, and it’s perfectly clear to me that a man could use a pencil as a dagger or he could write a prescription to save a child’s life. So how tools are used is not the responsibility of the inventor.”
– Buckminster Fuller, Playboy Interview
The past few weeks have featured some fascinating advancements with AI technology. Meta announced an AI tool that creates video from text, DALL-E revealed its image creator is open to all users, and AI music…well that’s been happening for a couple of years now.
Along with these advancements have come a number of concerns about privacy, data, and the line between human and technological design. Narratives have emerged that try to paint the technology itself as the culprit. The quote by Mr. Fuller expresses the idea that it is not the tool, but how it is used.
Some of the resources for this week really push this idea to its edges. One of these is the highly sensitive area of marketing to kids in the metaverse. This CNBC article looks at how Walmart is testing this out in Roblox.
Issues around plagiarism have arisen as well as AI technology has improved at composing paragraphs and even full essays. In these cases, a fundamental question is at play. Is a piece of writing still an original creation if I have programmed something to write it for me?
Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom. Education writer and teacher Scott David Meyers outlines how universities are using decentralized models to create and share knowledge.
There does appear to be a need for some sort of oversight and regulation within these industries regardless of how we view the impacts of these technologies on society. The final resource for this week is a detailed report by McKinsey & Company on web3.
All of the resources for this week help us dive into these ideas in detail. They help us look closely at the idea that Mr. Fuller was espousing, it’s not the tool itself that’s good or bad, but how it’s used.
Check everything out linked below:
🛍 Walmart wants to see how kids will shop in the metaverse
✏️ How will student writing be impacted by AI?
🏫 Universities continue to explore decentralized models
📄 Major report from McKinsey on web3
Walmart has experimented with TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube to draw in a new generation of shoppers. It looks like the metaverse is next.
This article from CNBC outlines Walmart’s strategy to use the metaverse platform Roblox to target spenders. In addition, Walmart has also been pursuing a number of metaverse-related trademarks as well. How this all plays out will be very impactful on how retail and consumerism merge in the immersive internet, especially for our kids.
Advancements in AI technology have pushed conversations on plagiarism to the edge. I have heard from a number of educators who just don’t know how to square the idea that AI can compose essays that are indistinguishable from student-produced work.
This medium article by an international learning designer examines this topic from a number of angles. Investor/podcaster/Web3 writer Packy McCormick tackles this issue as well when thinking about the future of learning for his own kids.
How Web3 Communities are Being Used for Academic Research
For all the challenges that new technology is presenting to educators, there are some bright spots out there. One of these is how universities are leveraging decentralized systems for research. This summary provides some insights into cases involving Stanford University and the University of Arizona.
McKinsey & Company is a well-known global consultancy. Their reports are widely read and considered a reliable resource for data and trends. The fact that they dedicated an eleven-page report to web3 is telling.
There are always those “we have arrived” moments, and this report is one of them. There is a lot covered in the report. Most of it is finance and crypto-related, but there is coverage of a diverse range of topics as well. It covers blockchain and dapps, as well as a nice summary of a potential web3 “endgame.”
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