Ok, so the title’s a bit over the top, but…I think there’s something here. Everyone is now talking about how AI can take over a bunch of ID roles. Frankly, I agree (and have said so). In thinking about it (on a walk, as usual ;), I realized there’s a reframing, and I think it’s important. Despite being a tad flip, I do think emotion is the new ID.
So, there are things AI can’t do. It doesn’t really understand, basically. It can look at relationships and infer structure from good content! (That is, if there’s bad content, the inferences are also bad). We still need oversight, basically. So, one role will be to check AI output for accuracy. However, that’s something that largely comes from domain expertise. We’ve always needed subject matter experts to review output.
When I say AI doesn’t really understand, I mean more, however. It’s syntactically manipulating to generate semantics, but semantics is still largely cognitive. Yet as humans, we’re affective (personality) and conative (motivation) as well. In short, we’re emotional (not purely rational). Context matters. Meaning matters! We need to address these elements in our learning experiences.
Thus, I posit that it takes humans to write the introduction to learning experiences, to set the ‘hook‘. Similarly, it takes humans to make practice activities (aka assessment) that have an engaging context, appropriate challenge, and naturally embed the task. Essentially, making the practice meaningful. That’s something we, uniquely, can do.
When I wrote my book Make It Meaningful, I was explicitly addressing the fact that much of ID addresses the learning science alone (if even doing that). It was designed as a complement to my learning science book, to provide a complete LXD picture. What I didn’t expect was the advent of the LLM AIs. Yet, serendipitously (it seems to me, with the usual caveat ;), the latest book addresses the most important part of learning that AI can’t do now or in the foreseeable future.
Look, I strongly believe that we don’t pay enough attention to engagement, and yet we can. (Note: I do not mean the trivial engagement approaches: tarted-up content presentation like ‘click to see more’, fancy production values, etc.) I run workshops online and face-to-face on this because it’s my passionate and informed belief, not because it’s going to make me rich (it won’t). It just so happens that with this advent, I think it’s even more true that emotion is the new ID. Fortunately, I think we do know how to do it. I think it gives us a role going forward; a way to answer the question: but what about AI? We just have to be prepared to respond. Are you?