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  • Writer's pictureKane Murdoch

Bad suntans and lengthy journeys

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

Morning all, (11.48 AM Sydney time),

This will actually be a short one because I'm going out with Mrs Guerilla for my birthday. Amidst the madness I'm very conscious to occasionally just do something for us, especially when my attention is often captivated by work.

So, in news that will shock no one, the first reports of academic integrity breaches have already started coming in, 24 hours after the infernal machine (the Turnitin AI detector) was switched on. As i said yesterday, using this tool is a bad idea in my view. But let me expand upon why I think so. With technology being what it is, there's always a temptation to think the next thing is the next BIG thing. And so lots of new things becomes the boy who cries wolf. We become immune, throwing them all into a bucket labelled "bollocks."

But despite its failings (flights of fancy, non-existent references, etc) do we think that this tech won't improve? I think what it's highlighted is that we have been writing and speaking pretty generic stuff for a looooong time, and the longer we did it under time and budget pressures in universities, the more generic it became. Students started to think of it as banal, and treat it with contempt, as exemplified by much of what we see in misconduct spaces. Basically, ChatGPT pulled the pants down on much of white-collar training and white-collar work. Spiritually depantsed if you will.

In a recent post I said "the next one might feature the Book of Kells and terrible haircuts." Let me draw out that allusion. What I was referring to, in my backhanded way, was monks writing/drawing illuminated manuscripts, the Book of Kells at Trinity in Dublin being a famous example. I'm sure they felt they had a lot of control over their "product." But with the advent of the printing press, their irrelevance must have dawned on them.

I think that's what we're seeing here. I think a new printing press has been invented, and we will likely be discovering ways to use it for the coming decades (until climate change causes famines and we become a Mad Max-style desert society obviously). So when universities, or ed tech companies, or accrediting bodies, or anyone else insists that we all lock up the press and stick to drawing our illuminated manuscripts (or sitting exams), I think they are not looking reality in the eye. But reality will poke them in the eye soon enough.

Have a good day everyone, thanks for reading.



Generated by Dall-E.


"the book of kells as Spanish civil war propaganda poster"

"A monk with a bald head but hair around the sides drawing an illuminated manuscript, in a pre-realist style"

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