Why the Hype Around AI is Not an Honest Educator

Maura Colleton Corbett is the CEO of Glen Echo Group. Alina Constantin / Better Images of AI / Handmade A.I / CC-BY 4.0 AI, for most people, happened slowly and then all at once. The turning point was arguably OpenAI’s release of ChatGPT last November, which fueled a collective global frenzy. There are many reasons for this; one of them is clearly the real, lasting and complicated consequences – both good and bad – of an AI-enabled world. Another one may very well be the contagion of crisis and hype. We have worked at the intersection of communications and public policy since the beginning days of the commercial internet and among the many things we’ve learned is that words and messages matter. In the early days of the commercial internet, for example, everyone was full of hope and optimism, convinced that this new revolution would help solve the most difficult issues facing humanity. Now, three decades later, it is the exact opposite, and instead of optimism, there is a collective fear that AI will sow the seeds of humanity’s demise and enable the rise of our cyborg overlords.  Of course, both worldviews are false. Whether it’s unbridled hope or existential dread, neither serves the real issues at hand. They only paralyze us and/or lead us to jump off cliffs before we know what’s at the bottom.  We are in the middle of an arms race to act and react. We are acting first and understanding second, which is precisely backwards.  Screaming…Why the Hype Around AI is Not an Honest Educator