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Explanation and the Right to Explanation
Elanor Taylor, Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 2023/08/30


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"In response to widespread use of automated decision-making technology," writes Elanor Taylor, "some have considered a right to explanation." However, "the normative motivations for access to such explanations ask for something dif´Čücult, if not impossible, to extract from automated systems." Why? "To seek an explanation of a decision, especially an explanation that articulates reasons, is to treat the source of the decision as an entity like the agent seeking the explanation: as a rational being." But that's not how AIs work (that's lso not how humans work). "The standard sources of such evaluation, like sentience or rationality, are not in play... In the same way that it is wrongheaded to blame a tree for dropping a branch onto my car or to ask the cloud to explain why it rained on me." 16 page PDF.

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The Usefulness of a Memory Guides Where the Brain Saves It | Quanta Magazine
24, Quanta Magazine, 2023/08/30


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Interesting considerations on how (and where) we locate our memories. In a nutshell, in the human brain, different memories are stored in different places. But we shouldn't think of it as being the same as storing a sheet of paper in a filing cabinet or document into a folder. "Each time an experience is recalled, there are changes in the connection weights of the network, causing memory elements to get more averaged out." And that's why different types of memory are stored in different places - so the exceptional does not prevent us from recognizing the day-to-day, and vice versa.

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AI and the End of Education
Geoff Cain, Brainstorm in Progress, 2023/08/30


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The main message in this post boild down to "I don't object to a single thing about AI itself – it is just another tool and tools have their uses... What is objectionable is that corporations like OpenAI are treating education as just another marketplace and students as just another commodity." Of course, this is a concern with or without AI. It's a concern about the privatization of education generally. AI, like most tech, just makes it easier.

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AI tennis commentary is coming to the US Open
Patrick Kulp, Tech Brew, 2023/08/30


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The story is that AI could extend live audio commentary to those matches that are not being covered by human sportscasters. But this is a pretty disingenuous comment: "We're not here to replace all of the iconic commentators. Of course not. But there are only so many of them. So it's really just a matter of making the action here at the US Open accessible." But in reality there's no limit on the number of humans available to provide live commentary; if they wanted more they could simply hire more. The fact is that AI commentators are cheaper, and that's what makes them attractive to broadcasters.

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AI-Based Diagnostic Assessment System: Integrated with Knowledge Map in MOOCs
Chia-An Lee, Nen-Fu Huang, Jian-Wei Tzeng, Pin-Han Tsai, IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 2023/08/30


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I'm not sure how long this author's version of the article (14 page PDF) will remain available, but if you want a detailed technical explanation of how automated student assessment might be conducted, here it is. Basically, the system analyzes a student's online activities to create a 'knowledge map' of what they've learned, compare it with a similar knowledge map constructed from the instructor's course outline, and make recommendations based on that. It is (to my assessment) more mechanical than artificially intelligent, and I wouldn't expect it to survive robust empirical testing, but it points the way, and that's what's important.

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Agency as an emerging phenomenon in the construction of massive open online courses: a discursive–material approach to the techno- pedagogical edX platform and its forums
Jan Zienkowski, Franç, ois Lambotte, Learning, Media and Technology, DIAL.pr, 2023/08/30


Interesting article (16 page PDF) on agency in MOOCs that ultimately identifies six types of agency for educators (because educators love a taxonomy):

  1. as catalysts for interaction, discussion, debate and/or controversy
  2. as monitors that may or may not intervene when discussions
  3. as sources of authoritative knowledge in a position to judge the quality of student contributions
  4. as reinforcers of social bonds
  5. as human beings
  6. as entities who accompany learners throughout their MOOC experience

I think it would have been more interesting to focus on emerging forms of agency in students, and I'm not sure this is the best taxonomy of agency that could have emerged form the data: number 3 seems to be two distinct forms of agency, while 5 and 6 seem to describe what they are rather than what they do.

 

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We publish six to eight or so short posts every weekday linking to the best, most interesting and most important pieces of content in the field. Read more about what we cover. We also list papers and articles by Stephen Downes and his presentations from around the world.

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