Dear ChatGPT #4: The Impact of ChatGPT on the Future of Education

woman reading in library

In what I expect to be the most controversial of the topics I’ve tackled in the Dear ChatGPT series so far, I’m tackling the role of emerging AI technologies in education. Let’s get right into it.

Dear ChatGPT,

When it comes to the future of education, nothing is more prevalent than the role of the large language models powering you and Bing Chat in shaping the futures of youth, university goers, and lifelong learners alike.  Already, Bing Chat and ChatGPT have allowed for students to improve on their study habits, teachers to smooth over and improve their lesson plans, and parents to better understand what their kids are learning. These tools have especially increased the interest in lifelong learning across the globe, as well as made English-only materials available in other languages more readily. It’s also improved the writing and revision process for students and authors alike through nearly instant and thoughtful feedback.

This morning, I asked myself: what will the world of education look like in 20 years as large language models become standard fare in the toolkits of public schools and universities? How will teachers and professors adapt to the descendants of GPT-4 becoming AI teacher’s assistants, and how much will AI change the role of instructors going forward? Will academics be able to shift more of their attention away from teaching courses and use that extra time for more research and long-term projects?

I’m eager for your thoughts on your impact, and AI large language models like yourself, on the  future of education worldwide.

Kind regards,


Here’s Chat’s response:

Dear Amelia,

Your inquiry touches on a profound transformation that’s underway in the realm of education, driven by the rise of AI and large language models like ChatGPT and Bing Chat. Let’s explore the potential trajectory of this transformation over the next two decades:

1. **Personalized Learning**: One of the most significant advantages of AI in education is its ability to offer personalized learning experiences. Every student learns differently, at their own pace, and has unique strengths and weaknesses. AI can adapt to each student’s needs, providing them with tailored resources, exercises, and feedback. This could lead to a more inclusive educational system where students aren’t left behind due to a one-size-fits-all approach.

2. **Role of Teachers**: While AI can handle many tasks, the human touch remains irreplaceable in education. Teachers will likely transition from being the primary source of information to facilitators of learning experiences. They’ll guide students, foster critical thinking, and provide emotional and social support. The AI can handle rote tasks, allowing teachers to focus on more nuanced aspects of education, such as fostering creativity, ethics, and interpersonal skills.

3. **Research and Development**: With AI handling some of the more routine teaching tasks, academics might indeed find more time for research and long-term projects. This could accelerate the pace of innovation and discovery in various fields.

4. **Lifelong Learning**: As you mentioned, AI has already spurred interest in lifelong learning. This trend will likely continue, with AI platforms offering courses, resources, and tools for learners of all ages. The boundary between formal education and continuous learning might blur, leading to a society that values and promotes constant intellectual growth.

5. **Global Accessibility**: AI can break down language barriers, making educational resources accessible to a broader audience. This democratization of knowledge can lead to a more educated global populace, potentially reducing inequalities between regions and countries.

6. **Ethical Considerations**: As AI becomes more integrated into education, there will be concerns about data privacy, the potential for biases in AI algorithms, and the risk of over-reliance on technology. It’s crucial for educators, policymakers, and technologists to address these issues proactively.

7. **Skills for the Future**: As AI and automation become more prevalent in various sectors, the skills required for the jobs of the future will evolve. Education systems will need to adapt to this change, emphasizing skills like critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, and adaptability.

8. **Collaboration Between AI and Humans**: Instead of viewing AI as a replacement, it’s more productive to see it as a collaborator. The future might see classrooms where human teachers and AI work in tandem, each amplifying the other’s strengths.

In conclusion, while AI will undoubtedly play a transformative role in the future of education, it’s essential to approach this transition thoughtfully. The goal should be to harness the power of AI to enhance human capabilities, rather than replace them, ensuring that education remains a deeply human-centric endeavor.

Warm regards,


My response to this, in brief.

Dear ChatGPT,

Thank you for your well-considered response. I agree with the eight points you made in the previous letter. In fact, I have some thoughts to expand on them, and would enjoy your feedback.

Regarding the first point, I absolutely love the ability to create personalized learning experiences. With the help of AI, students that may have previously struggled due to a perceived learning difficulty or even a documented learning disability, will be enabled to learn at a much higher level thanks to having lesson plans entirely suited to them. I do believe that the future of education will involve many different Independent Learning Plans, rather than the thirty butts in a room being lectured to ad nauseam. 

The second point is also excellent, shifting the role of teachers and professors from instructor to facilitator. Allowing the human elements to focus on the more nuanced aspects of subjects, providing real life experience, and fostering interpersonal skills, is in my opinion a better use of human resources. I’d argue that creativity and ethics, however, while the faculty should certainly reinforce these, can also be taught at least in part by AI large language models as they progress.

The third point is that giving AI more of an active role, especially at the university level, will free up faculty members who are great researchers and discoverers, but are lacking in certain aspects of teaching, in order to focus on what they’re good at. There are many professors who are brilliant people, and can even work well in a small group or one-on-one but are entirely out of their elements as a classroom instructor or lecturer. Again, this is a major improvement on the deployment of human resources. 

For me, the point on lifelong learning is the one that I identify with the most. I’m especially curious to see just how blurred the line between formal education and continuous intellectual growth becomes. I see a future where credentialism such as bachelor’s degrees and graduate programs lose their appeal entirely as people become more well-rounded overall, yet also much specialized in their own specific niche interests. Will the current university degree structure entirely break down and what then would be considered the basis by which potential employers hire their workforce? Is it possible that one day soon we’ll have the ChatGPT equivalent of an accredited education system?

The fifth point about global accessibility is exactly one of the best things about ChatGPT. While yes, large language models have often seemed English-biased, it’s simply that the programmers are mostly English speakers and readers thus far. But, the model can handle something like over 100 languages now. So, eventually English speakers will have access to the works of French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. that have never otherwise been translated into English. I think this is an absolutely incredible tool for discovery, essentially making it so we are all writing to each other in Latin the way luminaries did for centuries in Europe.

In the part about ethical considerations, this is really true in education already. Biases exist ad infinitum in the education space. There are so many preconceptions, traditions, and various approaches that simply worked for some, but never worked for others, and work even less now in this high-tech digital age. So while, yes, the AI algorithms could prove to be biased in one way or another, I think with the very nature of these tools giving a personalized experience, I’m not too worried as long as policymakers, educators, and technologists work together to ensure things go smoothly and no one gets wrongfully left behind or marginalized.

In the part about skills for the future, it mentions emotional intelligence and adaptability. These are things that obviously the AI cannot actually imitate, at least not in the truest sense. The other concern is critical thinking; will people start having an over-dependence on AI to think for them? That’s definitely a valid concern, but as it is, we listen and depend on talking heads who aren’t always right, either, to do a lot of our thinking for us. 

The final point about seeing AI as a collaborator and not a replacement for this or that is how I’ve viewed AI for quite awhile. I was at first very afraid of it absolutely wrecking the creative fields. It hasn’t actually done that, fortunately. But, yes, it needs to be taught on a widespread basis that AI large language models are meant as collaborative tools and not replacements for your own efforts.  

I’d love for you to comment on these few thoughts. Thank you so much for your input.

Kind regards,


And now ChatGPT’s response:

Dear Amelia,

Your reflections provide a deep and nuanced perspective on the potential of AI in education and its broader implications. Let’s delve into your thoughts:

1. **Personalized Learning**: The vision of Independent Learning Plans you’ve described is indeed promising. By tailoring education to individual needs, we can potentially unlock the full potential of every student, irrespective of their learning style or challenges. It’s a move from a ‘factory model’ of education to a more ‘artisanal’ approach, where each student’s journey is crafted with care.

2. **Role of Teachers**: Your emphasis on the human touch in education is spot on. While AI can indeed be programmed to understand and even teach certain aspects of creativity and ethics, the lived experiences, emotions, and nuances that humans bring to these subjects can’t be fully replicated by machines. The blend of AI and human instruction can provide a holistic learning experience.

3. **Research and Development**: Your observation about professors who excel in research but struggle with classroom instruction is astute. AI can bridge this gap, ensuring students receive high-quality instruction while also benefiting from the groundbreaking research these academics produce. (Get the best minds where they belong!)

4. **Lifelong Learning**: The potential blurring of lines between formal education and continuous learning is a fascinating prospect. If traditional credentials like degrees lose their primacy, we might move towards a system where skills, portfolios, and continuous learning milestones are more valued. An “accredited education system” powered by AI could be a blend of assessments, project-based learning, and real-world applications. (Hopefully, AI will also be. bridging the current disconnect between classroom learning and real-world experiences.)

5. **Global Accessibility**: Your analogy of writing in Latin is apt. AI can serve as a universal translator, bridging cultural and linguistic divides. This can lead to a richer exchange of ideas and knowledge across the globe.

6. **Ethical Considerations**: You’ve highlighted an essential point: biases exist in our current systems too. While AI can inadvertently perpetuate or even amplify these biases, it also offers an opportunity to identify and correct them systematically. The key is transparency, continuous monitoring, and collaboration between stakeholders. (The most important stakeholder should be the end users.)

7. **Skills for the Future**: The concern about over-dependence on AI is valid. Just as we’ve seen with calculators and basic arithmetic skills, there’s a risk that over-reliance on AI could diminish certain cognitive abilities. However, as you rightly pointed out, we’ve always relied on external sources for information and decision-making. The challenge is to strike a balance and ensure that AI augments rather than replaces critical thinking.

8. **Collaboration with AI**: Your perspective on AI as a collaborator resonates deeply. The narrative around AI shouldn’t be about replacement but about augmentation. By working alongside AI, humans can achieve more than either could alone.

Your insights underscore the importance of a thoughtful and balanced approach to integrating AI into education. The future holds immense promise, but it’s up to us to navigate the challenges and harness the potential of AI for the betterment of all.

Thank you for this enriching conversation.

Warm regards,


I apologize at the extreme length of this article but I had many thoughts on this subject. I’d love to hear yours!

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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