Education of anything has changed so drastically, rapidly, and contextually in recent years, that sometimes I wounder how anyone on this planet can differentiate what is fact, fiction, or just plain bull. Let me take you back several years to a time when education and learning was a way of being, an art, a gift, or a way of life. I had the privilege of sitting and working on a research board at the University of Oregon many years ago, before online learning became “a thing.” I represented of the “Old Guard” on this team. The University was still grappling with the transition that was to become the inevitable. There were many reasons for researching, creating and developing a digital landscape, but boy was that hard for me to swallow. When the need to build larger infrastructures, and create classrooms became difficult to accomplish, due to the lack of real estate, it became clear that the U of O, along with every other University in this country had to reevaluate how they were going to deliver education in this changing landscape. Many of us went kicking and screaming into the abyss of online learning.
Now, Twenty plus years later, there is an even larger issue confronting the educational world, that of quality. Fact or Fiction, in my eyes, is one of the most dangerous and debilitating concept in the learning process. I remember having a discussion with my son when he was in high school, about his references in a report he was charged with completing for a class. When I saw that his quote of some information was taken from, and referenced from, Wikipedia. Sorry Wikipedia, it will be a cold day in hell before I take anything in your library as fact. Yes, there is information in your jowls, and yes some maybe a lot, maybe even more fact than fiction. I look forward to a point in the future when I CAN EAT MY WORDS, I mean that, but that time has not come yet.
Here is an excerpt from the new information gathering service, and in itself has been found to be flawed in fact or fiction. That is OpenAI’s ChatGPT:
Question put to Chat GPT: “Is Wikipedia a true factual library of information?”
“Wikipedia is a massive online encyclopedia that relies on contributions from volunteers worldwide. While it contains a vast amount of information on a wide range of subjects, it is not immune to inaccuracies, biases, and errors.
In general, Wikipedia can be a good starting point for research, as it often provides an overview of a topic and links to additional sources. However, it is always important to evaluate the information you find on Wikipedia critically and verify it with other sources.
One of the benefits of Wikipedia is that it has a large community of editors who work to ensure the accuracy of the information presented on the site. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to approach the information on Wikipedia with a healthy dose of skepticism, particularly if the topic is controversial or if the information seems too good (or too bad) to be true.
Overall, Wikipedia can be a valuable resource, but it should be used in conjunction with other sources and with an awareness of its limitations.”
So, just like all this being equal, this new chatbot the “New Wikipedia” of our time has been found to spit out facts that are not true as well. What brought all this to my fingers this morning was a post I read on LinkedIn, that addressed the massive amount of training one could obtain via our Cybersecurity marketplace. What was interesting about this discussion was the realization, that anyone could put up an online portal, fill it with classroom course recording, some free, some, cheap, some cost-efficient, and some very expensive. How are we to make heads or tails out of all this amazing information. Well, it is really simple for me to come down off my high horse, and say research, research, research the person, place and thing, before you buy (Not $$$) into the information you are about to consume. It’s really that simple. Look to a couple trusted advisors, get referrals about the information you wish to consume, and then question everything that you learn. We, as a society, world, race, humanity are headed for a place we have never navigated before. We are boldly going where no man as ever gone before, and the only way to know is the map is authentic and true is your experience. Zero Trust, and Verify.
Author: Jed A. Reay is a retired Healthcare Practitioner and Entrepreneur with over 40 years of a board background in the clinical arena, direct patient care, to research and application of implantable cardiac devices, to genetics, teaching, training, and Business Development Consultancy. And now taking that passion for Healthcare and apply Cybersecurity training to the protection of PHI and other security offerings to the Healthcare space.