The Need for Speed

Welcome to Digitally Literate, issue #388. Your go-to source for insightful content on education, technology, and the digital landscape.

I’m routinely building and breaking things here in the newsletter. This week, I removed a lot of the clutter to see if it improved readability. I’ve been using some AI to help me streamline my writing and the look and feel of this newsletter. 🤖✍️

Stay tuned for more insights and discussions! #AI #Education #Tech

🔍 Exploring AI

It’s hard to believe, but it’s just over a year since ChatGPT opened up our eyes to the potential of generative AI in our lives. Please also understand that ChatGPT was only supposed to be a demo of what one version of a large language model (LLM) from OpenAI could do. It was basically a demo.

One year ago, at the end of March 2023, the world was captivated by a video of Will Smith eating spaghetti created using ModelScope AI, an open source text2video tool. You can try out ModelScope here on Huggingface.

This week was quite different with the release of Sora from OpenAI. OpenAI shared a teaser of its text-to-video model, explaining that it can instantaneously create sophisticated, 60-second-long videos “featuring highly detailed scenes, complex camera motion, and multiple characters with vibrant emotions.”

The tool is not yet publicly available. For the time being, OpenAI has restricted its use to “red teamers” and some visual artists, designers, and filmmakers to test the product and deliver feedback to the company before it’s released more widely. Safety experts will evaluate the tool to understand how it could potentially create misinformation and hateful content. Read more.

The more I dig in, it seems like Sora is less about generative AI video creation and more of a text-to-world creation tool, much like we would experience with video game creation. Explore.

📚 Ways of Knowing

Adam Kotsko wrote an article in Slate about the decline of reading comprehension and resilience among college-age students. Kotsko suggests the decline is attributed to factors such as the ubiquitous smartphone, disruptions caused by school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and changes in reading pedagogy. The piece concludes with a discussion about how the education system should focus on developing students’ ability to follow extended narratives and arguments.

Helen Beetham on how the use of large language models and generative AI is impacting the research process. Beetham argues that the research economy is already focused on speed, and AI is exacerbating this issue to the detriment of qualitative, interpretive, innovative, interdisciplinary, and marginalized fields of knowledge. Dive deeper.

Jamie Paris wrote an editorial on the tension between a pedagogy of hostility and the potential for unconscious racism to impact the way we investigate AI-based academic misconduct cases.

Can we survive AI? When I give talks about AI, it often has the potential to have folks talk about robots taking over the planet and the demise of humans. I think there are many steps before we get to that possibility. I do have concerns about the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of AI systems, as well as the potential for AI to empower bad actors and exacerbate existing societal problems. Read more.

✒️ Productivity & Creativity

As I indicated earlier this year, I have started using a paper journal again for my daily pages, meeting notes, and to-do lists. As part of this effort, I researched and purchased a Lamy Safari Fountain Pen.

Yes, you can use any pen or pencil, but just as I recommend when building, creating, and writing in digital spaces, if you like and value your tools, you’ll use them more. So far, I’ve been enjoying the experience.

You can learn more than you’d ever want about fountain pens here.

🎥 Visual Inspiration

More video examples from Sora.

A macro shot of a leaf shows tiny trains moving through its veins.

POV (point of view) footage of an ant navigating the inside of an ant nest.

I used RedKetchup to rip the videos above from X (Twitter) and then turn them into GIFs. A super cool multitool that I’ll continue to test out.

🌍 Insights & Reflections

What is the quality of your intent?

Thurgood Marshall

Thank you for being a part of Digitally Literate. Stay tuned for more insights and discussions. Reach out at or connect on social media.

Cover photo credits.

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