I started calling COVID "The Great Amplifier" a while ago. As in, trauma is not new, but COVID amplified our experience of trauma. More of us experienced more trauma. COVID amplified existing inequalities and oppressions.
I saw this Inside Higher Ed article about the Educause conference yesterday. Sometimes AI stuff in higher ed really makes me feel like I'm gonna lose my lunch. The thought of all this hoo-ha about AI dominating an education conference is too much. I pray for the weirdos like me who showed up there with the belief that they would be able to do something significant to help change higher education and our world for the better. To ease the immense suffering of humanity and our planet. I hope those weirdos left and got themselves a froyo.
AI in #HigherEd is "The Great Distraction." It's not that we shouldn't talk about it. Of course not. We need to talk about it, and we should certainly be incorporating the reality of the world with AI into our teaching and design decisions. But lord, it's too much.
Students are a little bit curious about AI. It's definitely showing up in their writing. But #HigherEd faculty/staff/leadership's level of interest in AI is not proportional to our students' interest. Not even close. Students want to talk and learn about mental health, the climate crisis, politics, war, peace, and designing better systems for work-life balance. Students have incredibly rich and interesting lives and dreams. It's super annoying to know all of the things that we're not talking about because we're talking about AI.
I picture a future where the world is even more on fire than it is now, and we will look back at how we fought that fire in 2023, and we will see news of AI dominating conferences that could've instead used the collective brainpower in the room to get #HigherEd's act together to prioritize putting out the world's fires. We will look back on stories like that and shake our heads at ourselves.
AI is conference track worthy. It is not the entire conference worthy.
I realize that taking the time to write about stupid AI in this blog is evidence of my own distraction. I just needed to name it for what it is: a distraction from our demise and our chance to prevent that demise. Or to inject some optimism into this, because why not, a distraction from investing in generative designs for the future of higher education and all life on this planet.
Blogging is back. Or never left. Better put, I'm back to blogging. I want a space of my own for my writing. I want and need to write more and more often. This is a space for my occasional thoughts and feels about higher ed, surviving our volatile era, and how to create things that matter.