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I have been busy teaching over this summer.
One of the things I noticed in terms of real learning is that the student or the learner must take learning seriously for it to take place. With ChatGPT and AI-generated content, students are being spoon-fed with information that is not curated, appropriate, and generalized to mean anything that could be suitable for their own use. The detection is simply a matter of finding if the language is sophisticated, the grammar is flawless, and the text sounds repetitive and when compared with other submissions, they all sounded the same. It is pathetic that we are producing a bunch of new graduates that relegated thinking to automation.
There are many wonderful things that ChatGPT can do to aid in learning but replacing critical thinking skills is the worst side effect of all. Universities, colleges, and academic institutions must have a company-wide policy as to what the students can't do with AI because it will harm their learning and because it is ubiquitous, it is easy to resort to this device. If students are ignorant as to the sources, limitations, and stupidity of automated content, they can easily use it not knowing that they are selling themselves short and becoming part of the automated herd.
Back in the 80s, learning was traditional and non-modern, but it worked for me. Computers came in the 90s and early 2000s donated from the US but we didn't bother learning more than what was expected. The Internet opened up a lot of doors in the early 2000s for learners but we were still pretty much into books and published materials. I can still recall some of the learning in the classroom during my first Masters when we would discuss issues in the class through the use of argumentation and debate.
Thinking about this for my daughter gives me concern for her future. As a society, while this technology is nascent and there are still imperfections yet, we should start building an ethical and governance policy for the use of this technology that will ensure the younger generation does not see it as an easy way out and not even an answer to their schooling/academic requirements and obligations. We should regulate the developers to the point that future developments do not create more risks for human consumption in areas where it can subvert or undermine human evolution. Risks assessments should be part and parcel of any policy pertaining to this technology.
We should own this technology and not own us. We should start delineating its boundaries and restricting its use for greater social benefit and not accelerate intellectual societal decay.
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This summer I'm taking a sabbatical leave from my business. I'm currently teaching and doing research at the same time so to me, it's not really a vacation but more of an introspective pause.
I have been working on my business for the past few years. Learned lots than most people in an 8-5 jobs. My portfolio has grown and networks too. I have been doing some interesting work lately and that took some of the time going out and meeting new prospects. My community program is also on pause pending a few things that I will be planning to do in the fall.
This summer I have plans to unwind, focus on family, tend to my plants, and enjoy my blessings. My pace has always been in touch with myself, not the markets, not what other people are doing, and not about the hype that will be crashing down soon. I have an ongoing contribution and that what matters most.
Another good friend of mine has passed away due to health complications. I always think about him singing his heart to the tune of the Beatles and our Sunday worship. He is an amazing human being, a ardent follower of Christ, terrific husband and father, and a great mentor to the Filipino-Canadian community. He will be sorely missed but he lived a meaningful life.
I am going to enjoy everyday life and deal with exigencies without worry, apology, and need for validation. I try to improve the lives of others around me and that in itself, enriches me immensely. A life like that is worth taking risks for.
Cheers to your summer too!
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I had the great privilege of doing research around cooperatives that are run by immigrant professionals or catering to the immigrant submarkets in Canada. This is very interesting to me as a part of the advisory committee, as an independent consultant, an instructor and lifelong student of social entrepreneurship.
The best thing about the process of building a newcomer professional cooperatives for the whole country was our decision to start small, low, and slow. We need to learn from those that have been around 15 years ago up to those that just started during the height of the pandemic. How are they persisting, surviving, or what led to their early demise?
One by one factors became clear. The founding members of the cooperative can make and break the organization by simply pulling out commitment and engagement at an early stage where everything is just dependent on everyone putting in their share of the work. Another reason is the lack of process of arriving at decisions that are equitable and fair for all concerned. The definition of fairness, equity, and cooperation is something that could be based on values, mission, and vision of the organization and the practicalities of creating a team where needs are met and valued with respect and dignity.
The third factor surprisingly is about how they show up for income-generation to get them started. With the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) on high demand by organizations and companies, these cooperatives rode on the high but do not have the Plan B in case the hype on this subject wanes and hits its inevitable decline. The truth of the matter is that like any other hype-driven, externally-imposed change practices, research shows that it is more tokenistic and rarely brings about lasting change unless management and senior leadership provides support, buy-in, and commitment to the outcomes they are trying to seek. Buyers of this service would peter out for sure as organizations realize that this is not just about a purchase of coaching, a training session, and three-ring binder of the module or a video.
Lastly, most of these cooperatives are for-profit enterprises that have a clear goal at the outset towards a viable commercial success. But unlike the private competition, the issues of money, financial discipline and controls, and sustainability are not as rigorously thought or understood, or maybe have been evaded until the worse becomes a reality. Marketing has become an afterthought or a knee-jerk reaction. Most of them are subject matter experts and are not really marketing strategists and does not have the time or inclination or discipline to learn more in this department.
Running a business is not a hobby or a charity for which some incomes go to the staff who needs to send some back home to feed his family. Survival in the marketplace is always tough and cooperatives are not spared of this even though, they mean well.
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When I moved to Canada 13 years ago, I was up for more shocks that I could ever hope for.
First, spatially, I felt strange with no hundreds and thousands of people competing on your space when you walk on the street, go to a store, and or take the metro. People are so polite, drivers allow you to merge, and police officers are feared but not perceived as corrupt or part of the corrupting system.
Second, in the workplace, there is less power distance than I can recall. There is no need for outward deference that what is necessary. There's more exchange of pleasantries as part of the culture not as something that is needed when you want to break the ice. Everyone seems to have their own place in the organization. When you in doubt about what you need to do, 'go to your supervisor.'
Third, we seldom see Canadians as part of the worlds' problem. As a middle power, Canada is a strong beacon of democracy and free enterprise. What I'm so proud of is that the project of multiculturalism while not perfect and perfected seems to work in this part of the world than any where else. While I came here seamlessly, integrated well than most immigrants, and have the privileges of education and international outlook, there are hundreds of newcomers that have experienced more hardships. I was an exception to the norm. We have a long way to go to closing this gap that is missing the best out of the global talent we now find here.
I have been shocked in my first few years but right now I feel more integrated than ever before. Diversity is our greatest common denominator in this Canada. If we devalue the least of our diverse citizens, we devalue our whole society and the power that comes with it.