Podcast LifeLongLearning@UNIGE

Saison 2 – Épisode 7

ChatGPT: An Unprecedented Disruption for Education and Training?

Hello, I’m Gabriel Real de Azúa, Head of Communications at the Centre for Continuing and Distance Education at the University of Geneva. In this new episode, I will be taking over from our usual host, Dr Raphaël Zaffran, to talk to him about what seems to be all over the media and on everyone’s lips these days: ChatGPT.

The advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has enabled numerous innovations in different fields, and education is no exception. Educational chatbots, especially AI-powered chatbots such as ChatGPT, are revolutionising the way we learn and interact with information. Since its introduction to the public, ChatGPT has become a world-wide phenomenon and has generated both awe and fear with its sheer computing power. The disruption that ChatGPT is causing within the educational sector recalls the lukewarm reactions of many seasoned education practitioners and academics toward the arrival of the internet and the advent of Wikipedia. At the time, many perceived the near-immediate access to information as threatening the very essence of good quality, human-conducted research.

Today, similar questions arise: should the use of ChatGPT (and other AI-powered apps) be regulated? If so, how, by whom, and with what underlying pedagogical vision? These questions aside, we are living through an unprecedented disruptive revolution that could lead (or force) us to reinvent how education and training is conceptualised and operationalised. That said, where do we, as educational practitioners, stand? Should we fear the ChatGPT wave or surf on it? How can we anticipate the future to adapt our current practices?

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Dr Zaffran just published an article on this fascinating topic in NewsSpecial magazine, a publication for the staff of Geneva-based international organisations. Our discussion is a great opportunity to consider the main questions around ChatGPT as of this Spring 2023 and discuss how professionals in education can approach this emerging issue.

References: Isaac Asimov, The Robots Series (1940-1995), Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan, AI 2041: 10 visions for our future (Random House, 2021)

Raphaël Zaffran is the Deputy Director of the University of Geneva’s Centre for Continuing and Distance Education. In this role, he leads the Centre's organisational streamlining through digital transformation.

Since 2019, Raphaël also manages the Centre’s learning portfolio and activities, overseeing the team that advises programme directors and their teams on the creation and implementation of continuing education programmes, including curriculum development and tailored (e-)learning & development solutions. As the Centre’s focal point for international and customised projects, he leads strategic partnerships with public, private and academic institutions. He is the founder and host of the LifelongLearning@UNIGE podcast. Since 2020, he is also the coordinator of the University of Geneva’s Distance Learning Taskforce.

A political scientist by training specialising in international security policy, Dr Zaffran has taught and conducted research in the field of political communication, with a particular focus on the issue of strategic narratives within military interventions. He has worked for the Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) and was a research affiliate of Open Briefing. Raphaël holds a PhD from the Geneva Graduate Institute, an MA from McGill University and a BA from Royal Holloway University in London. He recently completed the UNIGE Certificate of Advanced Studies in Design and Development of e-Learning Projects.