This Week In Data Reading: MOOCs, Collusion in Artificial Intelligence, and Fake News

Boris Gorelik

MOOCs in Decline: Insights into multi-year data from MIT and Harvard

My first encounter with free online education was circa 2012 when I first saw Itunes U — Apple’s platform for sharing academic courses online. I was ecstatic and felt like a “child in the candy shop.” Then came Andre Ng’s famous machine learning course which started the era of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). For several years, I was sure that MOOCs would change the face of higher education worldwide. But it seems that I was too optimistic. Data collected over the years shows ever decreasing MOOC participation and engagement. I wonder whether there are other emerging concepts that will manage to revolutionize education.

Xiao Yu

AIs Quickly Learn to Collude

This is a bit tangential to what we normally post but it’s pretty interesting how algorithmic pricing — even when not designed to — ends up colluding with each other. Ahh the unintended consequences of “AI.” 🙂

Carly Stambaugh

Fake news: did you hear about the unicorns?

The folks at OpenAI just keep getting better and better at AI-generated text! The latest model generates several paragraphs of coherent text that read like a Newsweek article. The most impressive part is that they accomplished this without training on task specific data.

The model, GPT-2, features 1.5 billion parameters and was trained on 8 million webpages. The post features several examples of generated text, the first being a nine paragraph article about researchers discovering a herd of unicorns in the Andes mountains. The output, based on a human-generated prompt, is astounding.

So, here’s the question: Did I write this blurb, or was it generated by GPT-2???? You’ll have to read the post to be sure.

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