Is Generative AI just a hype?

Amritha R Warrier & AI4Media / Better Images of AI / tic tac toe / CC-BY 4.0

A new study into the use of generative AI has been published by the Reuters Institute and Oxford University. The study, "What does the public in six countries think of generative AI in news?", looks at if and how people use generative artificial intelligence (AI), and what they think about its application in journalism and other areas of work and life across six countries/

Researchers surveyed 12,000 people in six countries. The data were collected by YouGov using an online questionnaire fielded between 28 March and 30 April 2024 in Argentina, Denmark, France, Japan, the UK, and the USA.

The survey fund that ChatGPT is by far the most widely used generative AI tool in the six countries surveyed. Use of ChatGPT is roughly two or three times more widespread than the next products, Google Gemini and Microsoft Copilot. But even when it comes to ChatGPT, frequent use is rare, with just 1% using it on a daily basis in Japan, rising to 2% in France and the UK, and 7% in the USA. Many of those who say they have used generative AI have only used it once or twice, and it is yet to become part of people’s routine internet use. However, they found young people are bucking the trend, with 18 to 24-year-olds the most eager adopters of the tech.

The research indicates that, for all the money and attention lavished on generative AI, it is yet to become part of people’s routine internet use.

"Large parts of the public are not particularly interested in generative AI, and 30% of people in the UK say they have not heard of any of the most prominent products, including ChatGPT," the report's lead author told the BBC.

Dr Fletcher said people’s hopes and fears for generative AI vary a lot depending on the sector.

People are generally optimistic about the use of generative AI in science and healthcare, but more wary about it being used in news and journalism, and worried about the effect it might have on job security.

AI, laundry and dishes

I couldn't resist sharing this image from LinkedIn - I cant find the link to the original image but please tell me if you know where it is. The quote comes from Joanna Maciejewska on X on March 29 of this year. Joanna it seems "might be a bit too cautious to do anything even remotely daring or dangerous herself, so she writes about daring adventures and dangerous magic instead."


The AI pioneers project which is researching an developing approaches to the use of AI in vocational and adult education in Europe is presently working on a Toolkit including analysis of a considerable number of AI tools for education. Indeed a problem is that so many new tools and applications are being released it is hard for organisations to know what they should be trying out.

In the UK, JISC has been piloting and evaluating a number of different applications and tools in vocational colleges. Their latest report is about TeacherMatic which appears to be adapted in many UK Further Education Colleges. TeacherMatic is a generative AI-powered platform tailored for educators. It provides an extensive toolkit featuring more than 50 innovative tools designed to simplify the creation of educational content. These tools help in generating various teaching aids, such as lesson plans, quizzes, schemes of work and multiple-choice questions, without users needing to have expertise in prompt engineering. Instead, educators can issue straightforward instructions to produce or adapt existing resources, including presentations, Word documents, and PDFs. The main goal of TeacherMatic, the developers say, is to enhance teaching efficiency and lighten educators’ workloads. To allow teachers to dedicate more time to student interaction and less to repetitive tasks.

For the pilot, each participating institution received 50 licenses for 12 months, enabling around 400 participants to actively engage with and evaluate the TeacherMatic platform.

The summary of the evaluation of the pilot is as follows.

The pilot indicates that TeacherMatic can save users time and create good quality resources. Participants commended the platform for its ease of use, efficient content generation, and benefits to workload. Feedback also highlighted areas for improvement and new feature suggestions which the TeacherMatic team were very quick to take on board and where possible implement.

Participants found TeacherMatic to be user-friendly, particularly praising its easy-to-use interface and simple content generation process. The platform was noted for its instructional icons, videos, and features such as Bloom’s taxonomy, which assists in creating educational content efficiently. However, suggestions for enhancements include the ability to integrate multiple generators into a single generator. It also remains essential for users to evaluate the generated content, ensuring it is suitable and accessible to the intended audience.

TeacherMatic was well-received across institutions, for its capabilities, especially beneficial for new teaching staff and those adapting to changing course specifications. Feedback showed that TeacherMatic is particularly valuable for those previously unfamiliar with generative AI. Pricing was generally seen as reasonable, aligning with most participants’ expectations.

TeacherMatic has been well-received, with a majority of participants recognising its benefits and expressing a willingness to continue using and recommending the tool.

A Game Changer for Education?

Amritha R Warrier & AI4Media / Better Images of AI / error cannot generate / CC-BY 4.0

Open AI launched its latest product – GPT 4o – yesterday. Its difficult to tell from a demo but it seems to be faster model of GPT4 with new audio capability, improved quality and speed of ChatGPT’s international language capabilities, and an ability to upload images, audio and text documents for the model to analyze.

It may have much more capability as a tutor – or more likely as a personal research assistant. As MIT Technology Review says the big pictureis, the company’s demonstration suggests, “a conversational assistant much in the vein of Siri or Alexa—but capable of fielding much more complex prompts.” But none of this is game changing. What is new is the business model. Although the increasingly outdated ChatGPT, based on GPT3.5 is free to users, ChatGPT4 which is the basis for the new model, costs 20 Euro a month. Now this is being provided for free. And for education which is concerned with access and equity allowing all to participate free use is a game changer.

Of course we have to wait to try it out. And there are still issues about the accuracy of what it returns. I enjoyed this this “hallucination” from Benjamin Riley quoted by Gary Marcus in his newsletter, Marcus on AI, this morning.

Generative AI, Assessment and the Future of Jobs and Careers

Ten days ago, I was invited to make an online presentation as part of a series on AI for teachers and researchers in Kazakhstan. I talked with the organisers and they asked me if I could speak about AI and Assessment and AI and Careers. Two subjects seemed hard to me but I prepared presentation linking them together and somehow it made sense. The presentation was using a version of Zoom I had not seen before to enable interpretation. My slides were translated into Russian. This was a little stressful as I was changing the slides in Russian online and in English on a laptop at the same time. It was even more stressful that my TP Link to the internet went down after two minutes and I had to change room to get better connectivity!

Anyway, it seemed to go well and there were good questions from the audience of about 150. Given that the recording was in Russian, I made a new English version. We still experimenting with the best way to do an audio track over slide decks and provide a Spanish translation so sorry that some of these slides are not perfect. But I hope you get the message.