Student Henri Kase sighed as she hit the ‘Submit’ button on the university’s Next Generation Leaning Management System (NGLMS). What a farce, she thought to herself. At least the new GPT-15 natural language processor meant that she did not have to waste too much time on these stupid and ultimately meaningless tasks. When will the education system finally wake up to the world in 2035? Who had the time to possibly read all those boring old eBooks and papers? Why read them anyway when a personal AI could give a neat summary of all the key points?
Henri stretched her back and neck, reaching for her VR headset so that she could get back to the CryptoSouk™ and start trading again. That was, after all, the activity that paid for her university fees and living expenses.
Most of the dinosaurs who worked as Ontime Graduation Facilitators (OGF’s) had no real understanding of how the CryptoSouk™ worked or how one could make a living trading Non-Fungible Climate Futures. The oldest of them were clueless ancient Millennials who were once known as senior lecturers and assistant professors. Even the few younger Gen Z’rs seemed way out of touch with the students. The real problem though were the Gen X’rs who still seemed to control hiring and firing in the ‘Corps’ and were irreversibly embedded in the ancient idea of degrees and higher learning for some purpose other than making money.
‘Gotta learn to play the game,’ she thought to herself. Ironically, the OGF’s were always talking of gamification and yet did not seem to see that their students were gaming the whole stupid system. Who would write an actual essay in 2035? Apart from some nerdy retrophiliac Luddite? There were a very few of these, probably from some weird dysfunctional families.
Just before pulling on her headset and haptic gloves, Henri glanced through her Livcube© window. The sky had the usual deep purple hue from the latest suffusion of Sulphur Dioxide. No one knew yet if this was lowering the temperatures or even what the long-term effects would be, but hey — in Meta, the sky was still a beautiful clear blue, even in the frenetic CryptoSouk™.
The Ontime Graduate Facilitator Jon Yenn rapidly blinked twice in his headset while looking at the icon to open his view of the university dashboard that showed student coursework submissions. He was happy to see that Kase has just submitted her course assessment. Now the dials and charts showed a nice green, meaning no flags for the ‘Dean of Student Success and Potential’ to ask awkward questions about. He smiled to himself remembering that the Dean still had no idea that the staff had shortened that title to the ‘Dean Stud Sucs Pot’. Ha!
Anyway, all the dials were green, all the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) achieved. He was really rocking this gig. His pot sucking Dean was going to be pleased, and he would make his Targeted Achievement (TA) payment for this term. He still had trouble believing that he had colleagues who thought that the students did the work that was being set and who spent their valuable time actually trying to read and grade work. ‘Duh!’ He thought with contempt.
Jon knew that almost all of the work being submitted by students had in fact been produced by some sort of AI or other. If not the whole thing, then at least it had been co-written with natural language processing assistance. Some ancient fossils really believed the university when it claimed that they had ‘technological solutions’ that could detect such AI-produced work. He knew that was pure bullshit! When the university cancelled its expensive subscription to the plagiarism checker that had been gorging itself on student data for years, he knew they were throwing in the towel on a lost cause. The rest was bluff.
Now to get the grades and feedback done. He looked across to the folder containing the student work, then double blinked to upload this to his own personal GPT-15 rig. And there it was: all the grades, all the personalized feedback, and comments on the work. Another few blinks and everything was already in the system. Worth a million in prizes!
Students could read the feedback if they wanted, but almost none of them did. Even the most conscientious just uploaded the feedback into their own AI rig, so that next time round their natural language processor took the feedback into account. ‘Lots of learning going on in this process, machine learning that is,’ he thought sardonically, ‘hypnotizing chickens!’
There are no losers in this. The students get what they want, the staff made a living, the University meets all its metrics, and the Ministry of Education, Enterprise and Innovation keeps up in the international league tables for the number of graduates. Everyone is a success, their potential unlimited. A whole lot of qualifications and not a whole lot of education, but everyone in the game is a winner! Outside the sun set in the purple sky, turning it the colour of a dead TV channel.
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Curcher, M. The Pseudo Uni. Postdigit Sci Educ (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-022-00384-3
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