I’ve got this

Classes over! All grading to date completed! Freedom is in sight!

OK, I have to compose two final exams by Monday, and grade them next weekend. This won’t be too intimidating, though — my plan is to make the final machine-gradeable, mostly multiple choice and math problems, so with a little preparation I can just log in next Saturday, see all the scores waiting for me, and then I plug them into a spreadsheet that spits out letter grades.

So, next weekend…margaritas and tacos and lounging about, playing with spiders and data. Until then, one last push.


  1. Matt G says

    I love your choice of images for these posts, but hope you don’t emerge covered in sewage. That’s not what academia is supposed to be about.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Approriately, the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm will be streamed 15 minutes from now.

    It is researchers and teachers like you that makes it possible, so in a way it is your award ceremony

  3. R. L. Foster says

    . . . my plan is to make the final machine-gradeable.

    Uh-oh. Hope you don’t have any grading deniers in your class. They may want to have a forensic inspection the machine.

  4. nomdeplume says

    “make the final machine-gradeable” – now if you can get AI to teach the course and set the exam your work is done…

  5. says

    @7 nomdeplume, thanks for the link. I’ll have to look into that article. I have read many articles about the endless shortcomings and inaccuracies of AI. As an ‘old school’ techie (punch card programming and onward), I know and appreciate that there are many effective automation/computer tools to make our tasks easier. But, there are a lot of coders cranking out software and applying AI that is not efficient or accurate. My physician curses the coders that created the clunky software she must use. And, during a recent system conversion to a new vendor by a large healthcare corp, a user told me that they had to use two computers/two monitors because the new system couldn’t import the old patient records. That is absurd, but common.

  6. says

    @7 nomdeplume, in the article you mentioned I read, “All you have to do is open a free account with OpenAI”. As one who follows Schneier on Security and other privacy blogs, I am always skeptical when all you have to do is give them a lot of personal info to ‘open an account’. Almost all Terms and Conditions allow them to use you data as they see fit. Some benefit by selling your data. I’m not paranoid, they are really after us. Also, I’m tired of having dozens of user names and passwords that should be changed every month or so.

  7. says

    For those interested in another perspective on AI I’ll offer this and then shut up for a while:
    Like other global supply chains, the AI pipeline is greatly imbalanced. Developing countries in the Global South are powering the development of AI systems by doing often low-wage beta testing, data annotating and labeling, and content moderation jobs, while countries in the Global North are the centers of power benefiting from this work.

    In a 2021 paper on the role of global labor in AI development, AI ethics researchers argued that the current inclusion of workers from the Global South in the AI pipeline is a continuation of exploitative practices—not unlike the history of colonial exploitation, where Western states took advantage of people from the Global South and their resources for access to cheap, physically tolling labor to benefit their institutions and businesses.

    In May, a former content moderator named Daniel Motaung filed a lawsuit in Nairobi, Kenya, accusing Facebook parent company Meta and its largest outsourcing partner, Sama, of forced labor, human trafficking, and union busting. In an investigation by TIME Magazine, Sama’s mission to provide poor countries with “ethical” and “dignified digital work” was quickly proven to be a facade of “participation-washing,” which is what researchers like Forlano define as companies including workers in “a post-colonial structure of global power” as a form of virtue signaling, rather than having them as meaningful, democratic partners. Motaung and other Sama employees told TIME that they were taking home as little as $1.50 per hour, and at least two content moderators were diagnosed with mental illnesses such as PTSD following their work viewing graphic images and videos depicting rape, murder, and dismemberment.

  8. nomdeplume says

    @8 Yea, our health system has just been upgraded (the previous on couldn’t communicate between one part of the hospital and another, nor apparently retain any memory of the information you had given it a week earlier! The new one seems as clunky as, say, Windows 3 from the early 90s! Punch cards would at least be reliable (and yes, I began ij the punch card era too!). The Apple revolution has never happened in health care it seems.

    And the AI as both articles point out is very primitive. Little if any advance from what I remember in the 90s where when asked a question it would simply repeat the words you gave it but changed to an “answer”. eg “Is it a Sunny Day?” “Do you think it is a Sunny Day Dave?”

  9. drsteve says

    @12: I’m generally on board with the healthy skepticism expressed in this thread, but your 90s chatbot comparison is ridiculously overstating the case.

    One of my coworkers, a software developer, started a Slack thread sharing the examples of the ChatGPT outputs when he prompted it to create blocks of code according to pithy (one line) specifications. He also claimed it could write documentation for the code.

    When I tried it myself earlier today, starting a conversation by prompting it to explain the Einstein relation’s relevance to atomic theory, its answers were on point, though obviously
    sounding more like they were regurgitated from a textbook (or training set of textbooks, I guess, lol) than conveying genuine insight.

    Of course there will be limitations to what this new tool can do, but it’s a genuine advance that is going to have some serious impact (not all to the good) on a lot of use cases sooner rather than later.

  10. nomdeplume says

    @14 I do,,just occasionally, overstate a proposition to make a point more strongly…….

  11. birgerjohansson says

    About your choice of image, the protagonist literally crawling through a sewer to finally emerge. I can sympathize.
    I am having something suspiciously similar to stomach flu and have emerged on the other side, by the simple act of not having anything left to puke. It was a messy journey but Zod is it a relief.