Generative AI and Education Systems in the Global South — What Should We Be Thinking About?

I remember spending some time in a classroom in a school outside Lilongwe, Malawi, in 2022. We were visiting to research developing new resources for schools in the country. A colleague asked me to find out if they wanted e-books. The school had one computer in the admin office and no reliable internet connection. However, all the teachers had mobile phones and used WhatsApp. The question needed to be framed correctly. The teachers did not need e-books but could benefit from resources and support delivered via mobile networks (not an attractive business model for publishers!). With the rollout of generative AI globally, a similarly wrong framing could occur based on the assumption that African schools could use Western chatbots to improve their education.

Generated by the author and Dall-E

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Context Windows

Understanding AI context windows is crucial in the realm of natural language processing. These context windows represent the capacity of an AI system to maintain, reference, and utilise prior parts of a conversation or text to produce relevant and coherent responses.

In essence, they function like a short-term memory, holding onto the recent threads of dialogue, much as a human would in order to respond appropriately to what has been said.

A context window helps the AI understand the conversation’s sequence and ensure that its contributions are meaningful within the existing framework.

Sunlight streams through a modern office, casting long shadows on sleek AI devices and futuristic furniture. The room is filled with the soft glow of digital screens, creating a sense of technological sophistication
A very large context window

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HuggingChat

HuggingChat represents a cutting-edge addition to the burgeoning field of conversational artificial intelligence. Developed by Hugging Face, an influential player in the AI community, this application offers users the chance to interact with various AI models.

These models are designed to simulate human-like conversation and can perform a wide array of tasks ranging from casual chat to more complex activities like summarising text or composing emails.

Two chat bubbles embracing with a warm, friendly hug

As a testament to the open collaboration ethos of the machine learning community, HuggingChat leans heavily on open-source principles. This allows users not only to engage with pre-existing models but also to contribute to their development.

By providing access to a comprehensive platform, Hugging Face is fostering a collaborative environment where enthusiasts can explore, create, and refine AI models for conversational purposes.

This emphasis on shared innovation is underpinned by robust, leading technologies in the AI space. While distinct from OpenAI’s offerings, HuggingChat talks to the same need for intelligent, adaptable, and responsive chatbots that can be integrated into a multitude of digital experiences. As the conversation around artificial intelligence continues to evolve, HuggingChat is poised as a significant player that is shaping the future interactions between humans and machines.

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