Intelligence. Knowledge. Wisdom: AI and the Waldorf School

Mar 14, 2023 8:00PM


ONLINE: Eastern Time (USA, Canada)

Cost $10 (suggested donation)

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The launch of the chatbot system ChatGPT in November 2022 has taken much of the world by storm. Its speed, clarity, and writing skills appear to be harbingers of a new stage of artificial intelligence that may transform almost every field of human endeavor. Its disruptive power was recognized within weeks of its release when the New York City public school system blocked its use, even as myriad academics spoke strongly for or against its pedagogical value.

And what about Waldorf schools? It is likely that some enterprising Waldorf high school students are already using ChatGPT to assist them with history essay assignments or mastering concepts in science, and there are certainly teachers contemplating its possibilities in lesson preparation and composing end-of-year reports. Given the Waldorf schools’ track record with TV, computers, and iPhones, it is likely to be damned in school newsletters and prohibited as a tool for students and teachers.

In this lecture, Eugene Schwartz contends that whether ChatGPT and its progeny are banned or beloved, the most important task facing Waldorf educators and parents is to understand the ramifications of artificial intelligence and acknowledge the role that it is already playing in the lives of our students. Eugene will begin with an explanation of how a chatbot works (he promises that it will be comprehensible to even the most technophobic listener). He will then explore the ways in which our own approach to “intelligence” in the Waldorf movement has been influenced by modern technology, altering our relationship to knowledge and wisdom. And he will illuminate how the Waldorf approach is needed, more than ever, to empower teachers, parents, and students in counterbalancing AI’s nebulous counter-image of human cognition.