In An Age of AI, a Humanist Manifesto for Edtech

Humanist Manifesto

In November 2022, OpenAI unleashed GPT-3, its generative AI model, to the public, marking a significant inflection point in history. This momentous event is akin to the public release of pivotal technologies like electricity and the internet, with far-reaching implications for our world. GPT-3, which stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, embodies the acronym “General Purpose Technology.” Much like electricity, steam power, and semiconductors, GPT is a technology with vast potential to transform industries and societies across a spectrum of applications, from art and literature to customer service and software coding. It heralds a democratization of capabilities once accessible to only a privileged few, ushering in profound changes in education, business, and human progress.

Balancing Technology with Humanity

Amidst this rapid technological advancement, it’s crucial to remember our humanity. While the allure of new tools is strong, human ingenuity remains the heart of innovation. Technology can facilitate progress, but it is humans who infuse it with meaning.  Efficient tools and immersive experiences promise to engage young minds like never before. However, effective education is not solely about efficiency; it thrives on human relationships, imparts timeless wisdom, and sparks creativity. No technology can replace the power of human interaction in a child’s development. Technology may aid the journey, but the cultivation of students’ humanity, including ethics, compassion, and conscience, is the educator’s paramount mission.

Navigating Ethical Challenges

As we embrace technologies like generative AI, we must grapple with complex ethical questions. How do we prevent misuse while fostering innovation? How can we instill digital literacy to discern manipulated content? What are the implications for intellectual property and human agency? These questions demand open and thoughtful discourse. As educators and engaged citizens, we must guide the responsible development of AI, aligning it with moral wisdom and human dignity.

While innovations like blockchain and web3 promise efficiency and capabilities, we must not lose sight of human qualities like integrity, emotional intelligence, and visionary leadership. These qualities are the lifeblood of progress, earning trust and inspiring people in ways technology alone cannot achieve.

Balancing Efficiency with Humanity

Technology enables us to analyze and quantify the world, but it is through meaningful interactions, stories, and experiences that we nurture empathy, a timeless virtue. Our shared progress springs from our shared humanity.  We must view technology as a tool animated by the wisdom and values instilled in students by their families, teachers, and communities. Thoughtful leadership, guided by our humanity and enabled by technology, unlocks unparalleled potential for progress, both professional and personal. In our pursuit of progress through technology, we must avoid overemphasizing efficiency. True innovation arises from the synergy between human values and visionary technology, thoughtfully applied. As the future unfolds, let our humanity be the guiding light.

The Human Spirit in the Technological Age

Technology opens doors, but it is the human spirit that walks through. We should use technology not only to accelerate innovation but also to uplift the human spirit. Progress is defined not solely by smarter machines but by more enlightened, compassionate people. Our shared humanity must lead the way on this transformative journey. As we explore the possibilities of technology, we must focus on enhancing inclusive human progress while remaining rooted in our highest values. This ongoing dialogue requires thoughtful participation, all with a steadfast focus on the indomitable human spirit.

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