To AI or not to AI: Reflections on Learning Technologies 2023
This second of three reflections on LT23 explores how much AI influences our thinking.
While exhibitors were busy selling their wares on the stands in the expo hall, a conference was underway and hosting some of the most important thinkers in L&D from around the globe.
It might have been easy for vendors to forget that people were speaking and hosting discussions if these conversations hadn’t migrated to the stands; such was the power of the ideas explored.
The Big Conversation
The big conversation going on this year was about AI.
Unsurprisingly, AI rose ten places in the Global Sentiment Survey in 2023. While it was relatively low for enterprise buyers, it was high up the charts for those in education and those supplying products. Don Taylor admits that the results may have been skewed by the release of ChatGPT at the same time as the survey, though there is no doubting the seismic wave AI is causing in all sectors of society.
The question is whether this is a paradigm shift or whether AI will evolve to be another thing we use to deliver powerful learning.
Is it really AI?
As a company, Entelechy likes to pioneer the best tools for our learners, and Learning Technologies felt like the perfect opportunity to learn what place AI might have in our offer. Our ethos is one of celebrating the human, so further moving towards automation of this process feels counter-intuitive, but we wanted to know what imagination had been applied elsewhere.
There was mention of AI in the form of coaches that felt like an extension of a chatbot. There was some application of AI in the personalisation of tone and content of messaging based on inputs by the learner.
Mostly, when you spoke to those on the stands, they accepted that these parts of their product had existed for a long time, and they only advertised it now because of the excitement about AI. Much of what AI was being used for could be done with algorithms and small nods to personalisation.
When speaking with Don at the end of the two-day conference, he believed AI would be everywhere next year. He noted that it was pretty low-key this year, but there was a sense that we were on the verge of this technology revolutionising the way workplace learning is undertaken.
We are not blind to the possibility that AI is a powerful tool. Yet, we know it is just that – a tool – and will be helpful only if it improves learning. We are neither over-excited nor overly cynical, which feels like the two default responses in the media. We are curious about the possibilities, and we have a team undertaking skunkworks (where bad-smelling ideas are allowed because sometimes something more sweet-smelling pops up instead).
We know there is commercial pressure to be seen to deploy AI, yet we still want to be leaders rather than followers. We meet monthly to consider AI's impact on Entelechy and our products and services. We remain open to the use of AI that could superpower Character in human beings, though we are fully aware that the agency of those human beings must stay with them.
If you would like a conversation about AI and Entelechy, book a call today. If you want to learn more about Character in your organisation, take two minutes to complete our audit to receive your FREE report.