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AI, do my homework! How ChatGPT pitted teachers against tech

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AI, do my homework! How ChatGPT pitted teachers against tech

Know-it-all chatbots landed with a bang last year, convincing one engineer that machines had become sentient, spreading panic that industries could be wiped out, and creating fear of a cheating epidemic in schools and universities.

Alarm among educators has reached fever pitch in recent weeks over ChatGPT, an easy-to-use artificial intelligence tool trained on billions of words and a ton of data from the web.

It can write a half-decent essay and answer many common classroom questions, sparking a fierce debate about the very future of traditional education.

New York City’s education department banned ChatGPT on its networks because of “concerns about negative impacts on student learning”.

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“While the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills,” said the department’s Jenna Lyle.

A group of Australian universities said they would change exam formats to banish AI tools, regarding them as straight-up cheating.

However, some in the education sector are more relaxed about AI tools in the classroom, and some even sense an opportunity rather than a threat.

‘Important innovation’

That is partly because ChatGPT in its current form still gets stuff wrong.

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To give one example, it thinks Guatemala is bigger than Honduras. It isn’t.

Also, ambiguous questions can throw it off track.

Ask the tool to describe the Battle of Amiens and it will give a passable detail or two on the 1918 confrontation from World War I.

But it does not flag that there was also a skirmish of the same name in 1870. It takes several prompts to realise its error.

“ChatGPT is an important innovation, but no more so than calculators or text editors,” French author and educator Antonio Casilli told AFP.

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“ChatGPT can help people who are stressed by a blank sheet of paper to write a first draft, but afterwards they still have to write and give it a style.”

Researcher Olivier Ertzscheid from the University of Nantes agreed that teachers should be focusing on the positives.

In any case, he told AFP, high school students were already using ChatGPT, and any attempt to ban it would just make it more appealing.

Teachers should instead “experiment with the limits” of AI tools, he said, by generating texts themselves and analysing the results with their students.

‘Humans deserve to know’

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But there is also another big reason to think that educators do not need to panic yet.

AI writing tools have long been locked in an arms race with programs that seek to sniff them out, and ChatGPT is no different.

A couple of weeks ago, an amateur programmer announced he had spent his new year holiday creating an app that could analyse texts and decide if they were written by ChatGPT.

“There’s so much chatgpt hype going around,” Edward Tian wrote on Twitter.

“Is this and that written by AI? We as humans deserve to know!”

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His app, GPTZero, is not the first in the field and is unlikely to be the last.

Universities already use software that detects plagiarism, so it does not take a huge leap of imagination to see a future where each essay is rammed through an AI-detector.

Campaigners are also floating the idea of digital watermarks or other forms of signifier that will identify AI work.

And OpenAI, the company that owns ChatGPT, said it was already working on a “statistical watermark” prototype.

This suggests that educators will be fine in the long run.

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But Casilli, for one, still believes the impact of such tools has a huge symbolic significance.

It partly upended the rules of the game, whereby teachers ask their pupils questions, he said.

Now, the student questions the machine before checking everything in the output.

“Every time new tools appear we start to worry about potential abuses, but we have also found ways to use them in our teaching,” said Casilli.

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Tesla’s Elon Musk found not liable in trial over 2018 ‘funding secured’ tweets

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Tesla's Elon Musk found not liable in trial over 2018 'funding secured' tweets

A U.S. jury on Friday found Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) CEO Elon Musk and his company were not liable for misleading investors when Musk tweeted in 2018 that he had “funding secured” to take the electric car company private.

Plaintiffs had claimed billions in damages and the decision also had been seen as important for Musk himself, who often takes to Twitter to air his views.

The jury came back with a unanimous verdict roughly two hours after beginning deliberations.

Musk was not present in court when the verdict was read but soon tweeted that he was “deeply appreciative” of the jury’s decision.

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“Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed,” he said.

Nicholas Porritt, a lawyer for the investors, said in a statement, “We are disappointed with the verdict and are considering next steps.”

Shares of Tesla rose 1.6% in after-hours trading following the verdict.

“A dark chapter is now closed for Musk and Tesla,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said. Ives added that some Tesla investors feared Musk might have to sell more Tesla stock if he lost.

The world’s second-richest person has previously created legal and regulatory headaches through his sometimes impulsive use of Twitter, the social media company he bought for $44 billion in October.

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Minor Myers, who teaches corporate law at the University of Connecticut and who had previously called the investors’ case strong, called the outcome “astounding.”

The U.S. anti-securities fraud law “has always been thought to be this great bulwark against misstatements and falsehoods,” he said. “This outcome makes you wonder if it is up to the job in modern markets,” he said, adding that Musk himself was likely to “double down” on his communication tactics after the verdict.

Musk’s attention has been divided in recent months between Tesla, his rocket company SpaceX and now Twitter. Tesla investors have expressed concerns that running the social media company has taken up too much of his focus.Tesla shareholders claimed Musk misled them when he tweeted on Aug. 7, 2018, that he was considering taking the company private at $420 per share, a premium of about 23% to the prior day’s close, and had “funding secured.”

They say Musk lied when he tweeted later that day that “investor support is confirmed.”

The stock price soared after the tweets and then fell again after Aug. 17, 2018, as it became clear the buyout would not happen.
Porritt during closing arguments said the billionaire CEO is not above the law, and should be held liable for the tweets.

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“This case ultimately is about whether rules that apply to everyone else should also apply to Elon Musk,” he said.

Musk’s lawyer Alex Spiro countered that Musk’s “funding secured” tweet was “technically inaccurate” but that investors only cared that Musk was considering a buyout.

“The whole case is built on bad word choice,” he said. “Who cares about bad word choice?”

“Just because it’s a bad tweet doesn’t make it fraud,” Spiro said during closing arguments.

An economist hired by the shareholders had calculated investor losses as high as $12 billion.

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During the three-week trial, Musk spent nearly nine hours on the witness stand, telling jurors he believed the tweets were truthful.

He said he had lined up the necessary financing, including a verbal commitment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund. The fund later backpedaled on its commitment, Musk said.

Musk later testified that he believed he could have sold enough shares of his rocket company SpaceX to fund a buyout, and “felt funding was secured” with SpaceX stock alone.

Musk testified that he made the tweets in order to put small shareholders on the same footing as large investors who knew about the deal. But he acknowledged he lacked formal commitments from the Saudi fund and other potential backers.

The verdict is another victory for Musk and his lawyer Spiro after they won a defamation lawsuit against the billionaire in 2019 over his tweet calling a cave explorer a “pedo guy”.

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Indian watchdog tells investors markets stable despite Adani rout

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Indian watchdog tells investors markets stable despite Adani rout

 India’s market regulator moved to calm investor concerns on Saturday, saying that its financial markets remain stable and continue to function in a transparent and efficient manner, despite recent dramatic stock falls in Adani Group companies.

Shares in Adani Group firms, controlled by billionaire tycoon Gautam Adani, have dropped by $100 billion, or half their market value, since U.S-based short-seller Hindenburg Research made allegations of stock manipulation and unsustainable debt.

“During the past week, unusual price movement in the stocks of a business conglomerate has been observed,” the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said in a statement, without naming any specific entity.

The Adani Group denies all Hindenburg’s allegations, but the fall in the value of its stocks led it to call off earlier this week a $2.5 billion share sale by Adani Enterprises (ADEL.NS).

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Mechanisms were in place to address excessive volatility in specific stocks, SEBI said, adding these were automatically triggered under certain conditions of stock price volatility.

Any matters related to specific entities will be examined and appropriate action will be taken, the regulator added.
Reuters earlier reported that SEBI was examining the recent crash in the Adani Group’s shares and looking into any possible irregularities.

The comments follow a similar assurance from the central bank which said that the banking sector remained stable.

Shares of the group’s flagship company stabilised somewhat on Friday and closed 1.4% higher, after earlier slumping 35% to hit their lowest level since March 2021. That low took its losses to nearly $33.6 billion since last week, a 70% fall.

Earlier on Saturday, India’s Finance Secretary TV Somanathan said that from a macroeconomic perspective, the Adani issue is a “storm in a teacup”, while Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said regulators are independent and will take their own action.

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Meanwhile, Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group, another of India’s biggest conglomerates tweeted on Saturday that investors should “never, ever bet against India” despite “current challenges in the business sector”.

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Billionaire Musk likely to ‘double down’ on tweets after court victory

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Billionaire Musk likely to 'double down' on tweets after court victory

 Elon Musk may become even more emboldened in his Twitter use after a jury cleared the billionaire Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) chief executive over his missive that he had “funding secured” to take his electric car company private.

A San Francisco jury took just two hours to unanimously find the world’s second-richest person not liable for having allegedly tweeted fraudulently in August 2018 about a possible Tesla buyout.

Musk is likely to “double down” on his communication tactics after the verdict, said Minor Myers, a professor of corporate law at the University of Connecticut.

“This is only going to embolden him to act as he sees fit,” Myers said.

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Musk ultimately abandoned his effort to take Tesla private, but told jurors early in the three-week trial that he had believed what he wrote in tweets.
Karen Woody, an associate professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, said she thought the case was “rock-solid” against Musk and she was shocked at the verdict.

“He pushed the boundaries, and won,” she said. “I expect Elon is going to write anything he wants,”

Musk himself thanked the jury on Twitter — which he bought in October for $44 billion.

“Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed,” he wrote.

The Tesla shareholders who sued Musk had sought billions of dollars in damages.

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Musk’s raw tweeting style has made him a hero for many, and burnished the Tesla brand.

He fought hard against accusations that he had not told the truth, with his lawyer, Alex Spiro, telling the jury that the “funding secured” tweet was only technically inaccurate.

“Who cares about bad word choice?” Spiro said during closing arguments.

The tweets led to Musk and Tesla paying $40 million to resolve U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil charges under a consent agreement that Musk has fought unsuccessfully to lift.

“He doesn’t want to play by SEC rules as the SEC understands them, and the SEC doesn’t want to be perceived as backing down,” said Adam Pritchard, a University of Michigan law professor. “I expect them to continue having their difficulties.”

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Still, many analysts said Musk, who has tweeted more than 22,000 times and has about 128 million Twitter followers, has no reason to slow down now.

“Many people, when confronted by a lawsuit of this type would have dialed back tweeting,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners. “But that wasn’t the case in the Twitter deal, was it?

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