Did you ever have one of those days when you really wanted to hide away? I hit my limit one day last week. Technology is changing too fast to keep up, and the innovations are equally awe-inspiring and worrying. And social media is becoming more agitating than enlightening. And the news is disheartening, all the more disheartening in that it is no longer surprising. Plus, unprecedented weather events loom in many locations at once. Argh! Stop the world, I want to get off.

And then on Sunday I took a refreshing stroll around Longwood, a local botanical garden (and one of the country’s finest). As expected for this time of year in southeastern Pennsylvania, the landscape was mostly still hibernating and monotone. But… the well-tended beds on either side of the Garden Walk were bursting with spring flower sprouts. And some of the harbinger trees and shrubs were budding or already in bloom, offering a pop of color. And the gorgeous weather promised the continuing cycle of the seasons. Ahh! Take a deep breath.

Maybe I can take that Longwood interlude as a sign of the value of emergence and the gift of resilience.

What sent me diving under the sofa cushions was head-spinning accumulating news about generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT (text), DALL-E (images), VALL-E (voice cloning), Synthasia (video) and a list of similar tools too long to enumerate here. The quality of artificial-intelligence-created outputs is jaw-dropping (or well on the way to becoming so), and the implications are dizzying.

My feeds were abuzz with worries about academic cheating, deep fake plots, copyright infringement, ethically questionable practices, and existential angst. Things seemed to lurch crazily from speculative utopia to panic-inducing dystopia in a moment.

But this is no time to hide under the cushions. Artificial intelligence has a wide variety of powerful use cases in L&D. As potential users of these tools and professional educators, we need to understand what’s beneath the surface, test out hyped promises, and thoughtfully move toward adoption where appropriate. At the same time, we need to know the cautions, the drawbacks, and the ethics of use before we adopt tools and make recommendations.

AI will not replace you. A person using AI will. ~ Santiago Pino

If you need to get past the headlines and get your head around what’s happening in generative AI, I thought I’d offer a few links to get you started. Mind you, I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I can share some material I found useful and thought-provoking. Seek to be educated about and inspired by the possibilities. I’ll do the same.

So find a relaxing thinking spot and dive in to the links I collated in my March newsletter. Let me know what you think. If you’re a reader far more versed on these tools than I am, please reply with your recommended links and tools.