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Math lessons from Drake deepfakes and other TikTok celebrities worried about misinformation | Radio-Canada News


Sisters Leanne and Natasha Manikavasagar are no strangers to AI-generated content on TikTok.

But an AI-generated deepfake video of Drake teaching trigonometry surprised them.

“I was shocked,” said Natasha, a Grade 9 student in Brampton, Ontario.

“Drake looked a little weird, like his mouth didn’t match the way he was doing hand gestures and stuff. It’s really weird,” said Leanne, a Grade 12 student.

TikTok users like @onlocklearning And @starlight_academy_x use software to manipulate the likeness of well-known characters to explain concepts in math, physics, and engineering, while blending slang and Gen Z references into short-form videos.

A TikTok by rapper Ice Spice explaining logarithmic functions reached 10 million views and is one of many similar videos appearing on the platform this year.

Although some teachers see the potential in these images to spark students’ interest in subjects such as mathematics, they question whether they provide real learning opportunities and worry about the possibility of misinformation spreading . Others see the images as an opportunity to increase media literacy and help students learn to spot misinformation.

Krista Muis, a professor at McGill University in Montreal, worries about the potential for misinformation.

“We know from the research that has been done that more than 60 percent of information on the internet is false or misleading, so it’s always a question of whether the content is actually accurate,” she said in an interview.

Neil Andersen, president of the Association for Media Literacy, a nonprofit charity that helps people develop an informed understanding of media and its impact, echoes this concern. But he also sees a potential learning opportunity for students not only on complex topics, but also on media literacy.

“I would invite them to choose a concept, choose celebrities and create their own video. And in the process of making that video, they would learn about physics or trigonometry, but they would also learn about this medium.”

TikTok tutorials attract an audience of young viewers who, beyond the initial shock, understand the concepts, according to the comments on these videos.

“Why is this actually easy, I haven’t learned diary yet, but if that’s all it is I’m not scared,” TikTok user @bisnip commented.

“I learned something in a minute my teacher would have taken a whole class or two to teach us,” TikTok user @cayden.steinbock added.

As someone still on the app, Leanne Manikavasagar agrees with the comments.

“Listening to a celebrity who is maybe even Gen Z, I feel like you can relate to it more easily.”

A still of rapper Ice Spice.
A deepfake video by rapper Ice Spice, shown here during the Billboard Women in Music Awards on March 6 in Inglewood, California, has reached 10 million views on TikTok. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/Associated Press)

“What are they really learning?”

For Muis, the emerging trend of AI deepfake lessons can be an additional effective tool to pique the interest of students, especially those who face learning barriers in their education. However, she is concerned about the superficial nature of these videos.

“It might attract other people who don’t necessarily feel like they have a place in the math field,” Muis said.

“They may pay attention to it for a very short period of time, but the question is, how much of it do they actually learn? Does it really promote deep learning?”

While it is possible to attract students to a topic, educational psychologists see a possible risk of developing deepfake lessons if those who see the images on TikTok begin to trust or develop relationships with the depictions themselves of AI.

Miti Isbasescu, a professor of engineering physics at the University of British Columbia, sees this potential.

“You connect to your knowledge in a much more intimate way if the knowledge is imparted not by a professor but by someone you actually feel close to,” Isbasescu said.

“You can develop feelings for the avatar.”

“The truth is not part of the model”

Some see potential problems if this trust leads to reliance on these tools, especially given how these tools are programmed to work.

A keyboard is placed in front of a displayed OpenAI logo.
Some teachers are integrating artificial intelligence technology into their classrooms. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)

“These tools are trained from existing information already available on the Internet, which means they are inherently biased. The truth is not part of the model,” said David Gerhard, professor and chair of the computer science department at the University of Ottawa. the University of Manitoba.

“It’s not as reliable as it should be and my biggest worry is that people will become complacent. They will ask a question and get an answer without digging deeper and that will be a real problem.”

The influence of AI on the classroom

For Carol Arcus, improvements in AI will require teachers to adapt their practices.

“This is another opportunity to teach media,” said Arcus, director of the Association for Media Education.

Arcus said AI has already caused disruptions in classrooms, posing challenges for teachers in monitoring academic honesty.

“We don’t even want to talk about it in class,” Arcus said.

“We are afraid of it and we don’t know what to do.”

Some teachers are adopting AI and integrating the technology into their classrooms.

Jamie Mitchell, a high school math teacher in Burlington, Ontario, sees opportunities for AI tools like ChatGPT to improve student learning.

For Mitchell, AI deepfake videos are another learning opportunity for students.

“What I could imagine myself doing as a teacher is presenting these videos to a class without mentioning that they are deepfakes and using that as a gateway to talk about digital culture, how “We could use what we know to spot counterfeits when they appear online,” he said in an interview.

“It’s not going away. I think if we can teach students how to use it properly, we’re doing them a favor and not putting them at a disadvantage.”


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