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AI-generated professors teach at a Hong Kong university

AI-generated professors teach at a Hong Kong university

With a virtual reality headset, some students from a university in Hong Kong They travel to a pavilion in the clouds to follow a game theory class explained by an Albert Einstein created with artificial intelligence (AI).

The experience is part of a pilot course at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) to test the use of “teachers” generated by this technology that is booming in the world.

Professor Pan Hui, responsible for this project, believes that this tool can be of great help to educational centers due to the lack of personnel in many countries around the world.

“AI-generated teachers can provide diversity (…) and even immersive storytelling,” Hui explains to AFP.

The spread of tools like ChatGPT raised hopes for improvements in productivity and teaching, but also fears about the possibilities they offered for cheating and plagiarism or teacher substitution.

In this grade “Social networks for creatives”these digital teachers address issues related to immersive technologies and the impact of digital platforms with around thirty students.

Once the training content is uploaded to the program, it automatically generates teachers, whose appearance, voice and gestures are customizable.

Professor Pan Hui, head of the AI-generated teacher project, teaches a class at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. | Photo: AFP

Avatars can appear on a screen or through virtual reality headsets.

The course is hybrid because Hui also intervenes in classes. But AI, she says, has allowed her to get rid of her tasks more “heavy”.

Manga drawing teachers

PhD student Lerry Yang believes that this mix of real and virtual universes and the personalization of digital teachers improves her learning.

If a digital teacher “It makes me more receptive on a mental level or it seems more accessible and kind, this erases the feeling of distance between the teacher and me,” This young woman who dedicates her doctorate to the metaverse tells AFP.

Addressing the rise of AI is a common challenge for teachers. Some decide to limit its use or try to reliably identify plagiarism.

PhD student Lerry Yang speaks to AFP at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.  Photo: AFP
PhD student Lerry Yang speaks to AFP at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Photo: AFP

Although they were hesitant at first, most Hong Kong universities last year allowed their students to use it with varying conditions.

In his pilot course, Hui experiments with avatars of different genders and ethnic origins or with the appearance of famous figures from the academic world such as the economist John Nash or Einstein himself.

“Until now, the type of teachers [generados por IA] “The most popular are young and beautiful women.”says.

The Japanese cartoon characters, with which they have also experimented, do not generate unanimity, explains doctoral student Christie Pang, who collaborates with Hui.

“Some students felt like they couldn’t trust what he said.” the digital avatar, he says.

Better the real one

For Pan Hui, the reliability of AI-generated teachers may surpass that of real human beings in the future. But it is preferable for both types of teachers to coexist, he believes.

“As university professors, we will take better care of our students as it affects, for example, their emotional intelligence, their creativity and critical thinking”, Explain.

For now, this technology is far from posing a serious threat to academic staff.

Avatars cannot interact with students and, like all content created by AI, can offer false or strange answers, what some call “hallucinations.”

Cecilia Chan, a professor at the University of Hong Kong (KHU), surveyed more than 400 students last year: a majority of them preferred flesh-and-blood tutors.

Students from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology use virtual reality devices in a class.  |  Photo: AFP
Students from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology use virtual reality devices in a class. | Photo: AFP

Students “still prefer to talk to a real person because a real teacher can share their experience, give feedback and demonstrate empathy,” says Chan, whose work focuses on the use of AI in education.

“Would you rather hear a ‘bravo’ from a computer?”, asks the researcher. However, students are already turning to AI-based tools in their learning, such as “everyone does”, Chan says.

At the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, one of Hui’s students, Yang, confirms this: ““You cannot go against the development of this technology.”

It may interest you

  • The jobs that will not be replaced by artificial intelligence, according to Bill Gates
  • Some AIs have learned to fool humans
  • Artificial intelligence deceives humans and that is a problem, according to experts

Source: Gestion

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