My name is Erica, and I am visiting Taipei from New York City . I visited YoYo English Club in April 2021, and am coming back with my colleagues Jen and Kenny. Jen and I will be the hosts of this session. We are the founders of Toko, an app that helps you get better at speaking English through talking to an AI.
Our topic will be the pros and cons of talking to an AI to learn English.
Session 1 Materials
Have 1 conversation with Toko https://apps.apple.com/app/apple-store/id1569893279 (only available on iOS, iPhone or iPad, no Android yet):
Free version will let you have 1 conversation
7-day free trial will give you access to all features.
For YoYo Members, we are offering a 14-day free trial, with offer code YOYO2023 using this link: https://apps.apple.com/redeem?ctx=offer ... e=YOYO2023
IMPORTANT: If you started a free trial and do not want to subscribe, please be sure to cancel at least 1 day before your trial ends! Instructions here.https://support.apple.com/zh-tw/HT202039/
If you do not have an iOS device, or do not have time to try Toko before the meeting, please come a little bit earlier, at 3:50 PM. We will have 1-2 extra devices you can use and try at the beginning of the session.
Session 2 Materials
Read this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/20/tech ... -test.html
If you don’t have time to read the entire article, relevant excerpt included below:
How Smart Are the Robots Getting?
The Turing test used to be the gold standard for proving machine intelligence. This generation of bots is racing past it.
Franz Broseph seemed like any other Diplomacy player to Claes de Graaff. The handle was a joke — the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I reborn as an online bro — but that was the kind of humor that people who play Diplomacy tend to enjoy. The game is a classic, beloved by the likes of John F. Kennedy and Henry Kissinger, combining military strategy with political intrigue as it recreates the First World War: Players negotiate with allies, enemies and everyone in between as they plan how their armies will move across 20th-century Europe.
When Franz Broseph joined a 20-player online tournament at the end of August, he wooed other players, lying to them and ultimately betraying them. He finished in first place.
Mr. de Graaff, a chemist living in the Netherlands, finished fifth. He had spent nearly 10 years playing Diplomacy, both online and at face-to-face tournaments across the globe. He did not realize until it was revealed several weeks later that he had lost to a machine. Franz Broseph was a bot.
“I was flabbergasted,” Mr. de Graaff, 36, said. “It seemed so genuine — so lifelike. It could read my texts and converse with me and make plans that were mutually beneficial — that would allow both of us to get ahead. It also lied to me and betrayed me, like top players frequently do.”
Built by a team of artificial intelligence researchers from the tech giant Meta, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other prominent universities, Franz Broseph is among the new wave of online chatbots that are rapidly moving machines into new territory.
When you chat with these bots, it can feel like chatting with another person. It can feel, in other words, like machines have passed a test that was supposed to prove their intelligence.
For more than 70 years, computer scientists have struggled to build technology that could pass the Turing test: the technological inflection point where we humans are no longer sure whether we are chatting with a machine or a person. The test is named for Alan Turing, the famed British mathematician, philosopher and wartime code breaker who proposed the test back in 1950. He believed it could show the world when machines had finally reached true intelligence.
The Turing test is a subjective measure. It depends on whether the people asking the questions feel convinced that they are talking to another person when in fact they are talking to a device.
But whoever is asking the questions, machines will soon leave this test in the rearview mirror.
Bots like Franz Broseph have already passed the test in particular situations, like negotiating Diplomacy moves or calling a restaurant for dinner reservations. ChatGPT, a bot released in November by OpenAI, a San Francisco lab, leaves people feeling as if they were chatting with another person, not a bot. The lab said more than a million people had used it. Because ChatGPT can write just about anything, including term papers, universities are worried it will make a mockery of class work. When some people talk to these bots, they even describe them as sentient or conscious, believing that machines have somehow developed an awareness of the world around them.
Privately, OpenAI has built a system, GPT-4, that is even more powerful than ChatGPT. It may even generate images as well as words.
And yet these bots are not sentient. They are not conscious. They are not intelligent — at least not in the way that humans are intelligent. Even people building the technology acknowledge this point.
These bots are pretty good at certain kinds of conversation, but they cannot respond to the unexpected as well as most humans can. They sometimes spew nonsense and cannot correct their own mistakes. Although they can match or even exceed human performance in some ways, they cannot in others. Like similar systems that came before, they tend to complement skilled workers rather than replace them.
Part of the problem is that when a bot mimics conversation, it can seem smarter than it really is. When we see a flash of humanlike behavior in a pet or a machine, we tend to assume it behaves like us in other ways, too — even when it does not. The Turing test does not consider that we humans are gullible by nature, that words can so easily mislead us into believing something that is not true.
“These systems can do a lot of useful things,” said Ilya Sutskever, chief scientist at OpenAI and one of the most important A.I. researchers of the past decade, referring to the new wave of chatbots. “On the other hand, they are not there yet. People think they can do things they cannot.”
The trouble is that while their language skills are shockingly impressive, the words and ideas are not always backed by what most people would call reason or common sense. The systems write recipes with no regard for how the food will taste https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/04/dini ... -menu.html. They make little distinction between fact and fiction. They suggest chess moves with complete confidence even when they do not understand the state of the game.
Because they are trained on data from across the internet, there are an infinite number of situations where they seem to get things right while actually getting them very wrong.
Dr. Sutskever of OpenAI compares these bots to the automated driving service that Tesla calls Full Self Driving. This experimental technology can drive itself on city streets. But you — the human driver — are required to keep your eyes on the road and take control of the car at any moment.
“It does everything. It turns and it stops and it sees all the pedestrians,” he said. “And yet you have to intervene fairly frequently.”
At the same time, there are many ways these bots are superior to you and me. They do not get tired. They do not let emotion cloud what they are trying to do. They can instantly draw on far larger amounts of information. And they can generate text, images and other media at speeds and volumes we humans never could.
Their skills will also improve considerably in the coming years.
Researchers can rapidly hone these systems by feeding them more and more data. The most advanced systems, like ChatGPT, require months of training, but over those months, they can develop skills they did not exhibit in the past.
“We have found a set of techniques that scale effortlessly,” said Raia Hadsell, senior director of research and robotics at DeepMind. “We have a simple, powerful approach that continues to get better and better.”
The exponential improvement we have seen in these chatbots over the past few years will not last forever. The gains may soon level out. But even then, multimodal systems will continue to improve — and master increasingly complex skills involving images, sounds and computer code. And computer scientists will combine these bots with systems that can do things they cannot. ChatGPT failed Turing’s chess test. But we knew in 1997 that a computer could beat the best humans at chess. Plug ChatGPT into a chess program, and the hole is filled.
In the months and years to come, these bots will help you find information on the internet. They will explain concepts in ways you can understand. If you like, they will even write your tweets, blog posts and term papers.
They will tabulate your monthly expenses in your spreadsheets. They will visit real estate websites and find houses in your price range. They will produce online avatars that look and sound like humans. They will make mini-movies, complete with music and dialogue.
As ChatGPT and DALL-E have shown, this kind of thing will be shocking, fascinating and fun. It will also leave us wondering how it will change our lives. What happens to people who have spent their careers making movies? Will this technology flood the internet with images that seem real but are not? Will their mistakes lead us astray?
Certainly, these bots will change the world. But the onus is on you to be wary of what these systems say and do, to edit what they give you, to approach everything you see online with skepticism. Researchers know how to give these systems a wide range of skills, but they do not yet know how to give them reason or common sense or a sense of truth.
That still lies with you.
For those who did not have an opportunity, we will spend ~5-10 minutes using Toko at the beginning of Session 1.
1. What did you expect when talking to an AI?
2. What surprised you the most about your experience talking to an AI?
3. What did you like the most about talking to an AI?
4. What did you like the least about talking to an AI? What could be improved?
1. What are some benefits and drawbacks the author mentions about talking to chatbots? Do you agree or disagree? Did you notice any when you were talking to Toko?
2. The author talks about the pros and cons of chatbots more generally. Are there other ones you can think of that relate to language learning more specifically?
3. Do you plan to use AI to learn English in the future? Why or why not? (Or, share if you use any AI-powered methods currently).
4. Would you recommend this experience (talking to Toko) to your friends? Why or why not?
3:50 ~ 4:00pm Greetings & Free Talk / Ordering Beverage or Meal / Getting Newcomer’s Information
4:00 ~ 4:10pm Opening Remarks / Newcomer’s Self-introduction / Grouping
4:10 ~ 4:50pm Small Group Discussion (40 mins)
4:50 ~ 5:10pm Summarization (20 mins)
5:10 ~ 5:20pm Regrouping & Break
5:20 ~ 6:00pm Small Group Discussion (40 mins)
6:00 ~ 6:20pm Summarization (20 mins)
6:20 ~ 6:30pm Concluding Remarks
Meeting Venue: 丹堤咖啡 Dante Coffee (Minimum Order $80)
1. We advise participants to print out the discussion questions and bring them to the meeting for reference. As for the supporting articles, feel free to print them out, as well, according to your preference.
2. We suggest that participants read the articles and think about the questions in advance.
3. Newcomers should prepare a two-to-three minute self-introduction in English to deliver when called upon by the host before the start of the discussion. The host may also ask you to give brief feedback about the meeting at the conclusion of the meeting.
4. We conduct the entire meeting in English. All participants should have at least moderate English-conversation skills and be able to articulate your ideas for each discussion question.
5. We welcome newcomers and other guests to attend the meetings and join the discussion freely twice (including on-site and online meetings). After that, we hope you will consider becoming a YoYo English Club member. We charge a NT$1,500 (NT$1,000 for students) lifetime membership fee.
2/11 (Sat.) The pros and cons of talking to an AI to learn English (Host: Erica & Jen)
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