So by now you may have heard the buzz about ChatGPT and how corporations are using this and other forms of Artificial Intelligence to squeeze workers.
It is front and center in the fight for writers and actors in Hollywood who are on strike so that corporations share their profits in the form of better pay and benefits.
There is a very real risk of losing jobs due to AI across a variety of sectors.
But what about Social Change Trainers? Could our jobs one day be replaced by AI?
Workplace Training and AI
If we look adjacent to the world of workforce development, we see a slew of companies popping up claiming to do the work (at whole or in part) of trainers.
But what about the participatory sort of learning that we hope to achieve as social change leaders?
Could movement facilitators one day be replaced by Artificial Intelligence to help us skill up to accomplish our social training goals?
What AI Can and Can’t Do
To see if it was possible, I started making entries in ChatGPT, using questions I often ask while designing trainings for social change groups.
What it was able to do surprised me. I did not think that ChatGPT could come up with responses that seemed to mimic “movement speak” as I’ve come to learn it.
But in other areas, it was woefully inept.
For example, in response to one prompt it suggested using a role play in a DEI training to illustrate racial prejudice.
For any experienced trainer, this would likely require serious group building, an awareness of the racial make-up of the room, and some rules around who can suggest the example and who can play what role.
I can imagine all too well a robot creating situations that pose simplified solutions to challenges that often require the wisdom of an experienced trainer to navigate.
On the other hand, I was quite surprised by what it was able to do.
It produced examples for a list of 25 activities on a variety of campaigns and issues (without much to go on) in minutes. The first draft alone would have easily taken me hours.
When coming up with content ideas, I asked it about the primary challenges faced by social change trainers.
On the first try, it came back with a list of 7 challenges that I’ve heard from many trainers through the years, some even more perceptive than most of us can articulate.
Making Training Easier
While I hesitate to use these platforms that stand to profit off of labor exploitation, I am reminded of my reluctance to use Facebook when it first became popular.
Social media platforms are now widely accepted as a tool for movement-building and organizing–will the same eventually be true of AI?
I also know that the most common complaint that leads trainers to resort to a presentation or lecture is time and convenience.
Based on my experience I believe that some AI tools could actually help achieve our goal of having more participatory training so you can effectively share your ideas for social change.
It will be up to us to leverage it correctly while supporting worker organizing that holds corporations accountable for its misuse.
Why to Package Your Knowledge
Ways to Use AI as a Social Change Trainer
Here are a few ways that I think a tool like ChatGPT can help you develop a high-impact training in less time than it normally would. For each, I list a potential pitfall you may need to account for.
- Creating an Outline
Once you’ve established your topic, ChatGPT can generate a list of relevant subtopics, questions, and more that are tailored to information about your participants. For some trainers this may offer a starting point to begin plugging in content and activities that help learners accomplish their goals.
The caveat: While the topics might be solid, the order may need to be changed to assure that the trainer is beginning with the learner’s experience.
- Conducting Research
If you want to create a timeline of major events or come up with a list of case studies that illustrate a point in your training, you can plug that in to ChatGPT and it will generate a list of examples with a short description of each.
The caveat: Make sure to fact-check as current iterations have been known to produce untrue or misleading information.
- Writing Activities
If you have a clear learning objective and an example of how you want to present the content, an activity to make it engaging, and a question you’d like to ask the group, put this into GPT with a little information about the learners and let it come up with an activity description.
The caveat: You must read it through and fill in missing details. For example, it might tell the trainer to “explain a little bit about the subject” instead of providing talking points or writing a question the trainer might pose to the group.
What do you think, can we use AI to create effective training for social change? Should we?
Let us know!