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AI Literacy for Faculty

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a computer or computer-controlled robot simulating human intelligence or doing tasks that are usually done by humans because the tasks usually require human intelligence or human discernment.

Generative AI tools is the generic term for a whole range of Artificial Intelligence that create text or images using algorithms.

Large Language Models (LLM), such as ChatGPT, use word frequency and probability to decide what would be the most likely next word, building a response to a query word-by-word.

Often, the actions around AI algorithms are put in human terms such as thinking, training, understanding, neural networks, learning theory, or cognition, but these are computer algorithms at work.

Generative AI Tools

While ChatGPT has captured our attention since it was released late last year, it is just one of many products in development.

Examples of some stand-alone text/chat tools:

Examples of some imbedded products:

Examples of image creation tools:

Large Language Model Example

Sometimes called the probabilistic web, a Large Language Model (LLM):

  • creates mostly coherent likely answers but has no meaning
  • this is great for many things (for example a library catalog vs search engine) and is derived from assembling 'real' things
  • WE attribute or find meaning in interacting with probabilistic output

How does it work?

It creates content word-by-word, predicting the next likely term.

A sentence showing the probabilites for the next word to build a LLM phrase.


Read more about how it works from Stephen Wolfram's article What is ChatGPT Doing and Why Does It Work.