A conversation about generative AI with David Webster

A week or so ago, early (for me) on a Monday morning, Professor David Webster and I had a conversation about generative AI, which was recorded as the first of a podcast series on the topic, hosted by the University of Liverpool. Here is that podcast. In it we explore both the darker and the more optimistic aspects of genAI, in a pleasantly rambling discussion that, surprisingly, lasted for about an hour.

I hadn’t spoken with Dave for well over a decade, at a conference in Hawaii, long before we became full professors or got elevated to loftier roles in our respective institutions, but it felt like we were just continuing the conversations we had back then. The only thing missing was a cold beer, swaying palm trees, and the sound of ukuleles drifting in the warm breeze. Well, that and a 6.5 earthquake that took out the power for a day and that made the conference a lot more memorable than it otherwise might have been. This conversation was a lot less earth shattering but it was just as enjoyable.

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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