According to the new Edelman Trust Barometer, global trust in business is higher than trust in governments. As business leaders gather this week in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, we can’t help but ask: How do companies gain that trust?
- In addition, teachers discussed the risks and benefits of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence tool.
Guests: Dave Lawler, Eleanor Hawkins and Jennifer A. Kingson of Axios.
credit: Axios Today is produced by Niala Boodhoo, Margaret Talev, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Alexandra Botti, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Fonda Mwangi and Alex Sugiura. Music composed by Evan Viola.you can contact us [email protected]. You can send questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as text or voice memos at 202-918-4893.
Margaret: Good morning! Welcome to Axios today!
It’s Wednesday, January 18th.
I’m Margaret Talev from Niala Boodhoo.
That’s what we’re covering today: Teachers discuss the risks and benefits of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence tool. But first: get ready, because we’re going to Davos, Switzerland. Believing in business over politics in turbulent times – that’s a big deal these days.
Margaret: The world trusts businesses more than governments. This is according to the new Edelman Trust Barometer. According to the new survey, business actually has a 54-point lead over government incompetence and a 30-point lead on ethics. So as business leaders gather this week in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, how do companies gain trust … and at what cost?
We are joined from Switzerland by Dave Lawler, World Editor of Axios, and Eleanor Hawkins of Axios, author of the Axios Communicators Newsletter. Hello.
Eleanor Hawkins: Hi everyone.
Dave Lawler: Hello.
Margaret: Eleanor, let’s start with you. What can you tell us about this Edelman Trust Barometer? What exactly do these dots mean?
Eleanor: Of course. Edelman has been developing this trust barometer for 23 years, and the overall goal of the barometer is to understand how communicators can help enhance reputation and maintain trust among brands, employers and leaders. They have found over the past few years that businesses outperform governments, media, and nonprofits when it comes to trust. Another very important thing is that it’s not just businesses that are seen as trustworthy, especially my CEO. As a result, employees really value the leadership’s voice on social issues and geopolitical issues.
Margaret: So Edelman can release this basically anytime they want. They chose to do this at the beginning of Davos, Dave, there you are. How has the Davos conversation around trust and business been like so far?
Dave: I think it might be a pleasant prize for some of the people here to talk about them, to be trusted, because obviously Davos is a bit of a demon, because people talk about the disjointed elite gathered here, a lot from the big multinationals executives. It’s not necessarily that people think they’re completely trustworthy, it could be more of an indication of how little they currently trust the government.
But more is the conversation around Davos and whether these big companies have lost touch with ordinary people. This week, because we’re talking about really tricky economic times ahead, high inflation, potential recession. And I can tell you, you don’t necessarily know that walking around Davos, there’s as much champagne here as there is any other year. You know, I’m being briefed on the possible recession we have in front of us. At the time, we were all eating a little dessert and drinking champagne. So it does have a very real feel to it here, and maybe for those of you who are far from Davos, it’s a theory.
Margaret: Eleanor, these findings come as Americans focus on George Santos’ collapse in Congress, a story unfolding in New Mexico around alleged election deniers turning violent. So I wonder if Americans are turning to business because they think it’s trustworthy, or because they’ve given up on democratic governance?
Eleanor: I think you’re seeing a very polarized environment in the U.S., but also globally. One of the findings of the Edelman survey is that polarization creates instability and creates uncertainty, so people are looking for business leaders probably because businesses are acting in ways that governments cannot or will not. Because of this, they are considered more trustworthy. They’re not just talking, they’re doing,
Margaret: Dave, this comes at a time when the relevance of Davos has been a bit shaky in recent years. Does all of this make this gathering more important than it has been recently?
Dave: Yes, good question Margaret. I think their motto is to improve the state of the world, does getting all these rich and powerful people together really improve the state of the world? However, as a practical business forum, people from different industries or even the same industry come together to discuss how we will meet some of the challenges that lie ahead of us this year. And, how do we not have our consumers also see us in a somewhat polarized light, because in some cases, businesses can get into the same problems as politicians.
You know, they’re the kind of huddling that I think business leaders have on top of a mountain might help them. But I certainly think we’re going to address all the larger social issues that are going on by getting together for a week at a ski resort.
Margaret: Dave Lawler is the World Newsletter for Axios and Eleanor Hawkins writes for the Axios Communicators newsletter. Thank you, Dave and Eleanor.
Dave: Thank you Margaret.
Eleanor: Thank you.
Margaret: Just a moment: Debate about ChatGPT in class.
Teacher discusses risks and benefits of AI tool ChatGPT
Margaret: Welcome back to Axios today, I’m Margaret Tarev.
Welcome back to Axios today, and I’m Margaret Talev, director of Syracuse University’s Institute for Democracy, Journalism, and Citizenship, and a senior contributor to Axios.
Everyone seems to be talking about the AI tool ChatGPT — including this week’s discussion in Davos — and now the technology is making its way into classrooms. As students return for the spring semester, colleges are responding to the challenge…Since ChatGPT first appeared in late November, public schools across the country have panicked.
So will AI end high school English classes as we know them? Axios’ chief reporter, Jennifer Kingson, breaks down the debate for us here.
Remind us, Jennifer: What is ChatGPT, and how does it show up in the classroom?
JENNIFER KINGSON: ChatGPT is driving people nuts for good reason. It’s a chatbot that interacts with you. This is part of what we call generative artificial intelligence, meaning it can generate words and language itself, and even papers. You type something like, “write an essay on the theme of empathy in To Kill a Mockingbird” and it gives you a big 600 word essay citing chapters and verses from the text, which is Reasons why teachers are so afraid of plausible reasons. It’s a modern tool that students can use to cheat, which is why schools have been banging it left and right. Meanwhile, teachers are discussing whether it can be harnessed and used as a valuable teaching tool in the classroom.
Margaret: It’s like some people are saying, “We have to stop this at all costs,” and others are saying, “You can’t beat this. If you can’t beat it, join it.”
Jennifer: Exactly. They say the genie is out of the bottle. You know, like the way teachers freaked out when calculators entered modern homes in the 1970s. Students can cheat in various ways if they want to, especially in this day and age. The knee-jerk reaction of teachers is to ban it. New York City was the first to remove access to school-owned networks and laptops. Other cities have done the same. But of course, that’s not the answer, people can get around this and use their own home devices and so on. A better solution, teachers say, is to both strengthen the honor code and remind students of academic integrity requirements and use it as a learning tool. Look at the answers it generates to see if they give you, um, ideas on how to write your own essay. The answers ChatGPT gives you are very formulaic and often very inaccurate. The tool is far from foolproof, and its body of knowledge is intentionally limited to whatever happens in 2021 and before. So it’s a work in progress.
Margaret: I can’t help but wonder if, when grades and essays and even college papers are at stake, is anyone concerned that this will be yet another dividing line between financially advantaged and disadvantaged kids. Does it make a difference who can access ChatGPT?
JENNIFER: I’ve heard students worry that in cities where the internet is banned, no one else can access the internet except for school devices, they won’t be able to use the internet like everyone else, you know, easy internet access and their own home devices . However, anyone with internet access or who can go to a library and get it can use it. I think the bigger question is the impact it will have on teaching, and like so many technologies, how it will reshape the way we think, learn and write.
Margaret: Jennifer Kinson is the chief reporter for Axios. Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us.
Jennifer: It was a pleasure talking to you, Margaret. thanks.
Margaret: That’s it for today – I’m Margaret Talev, representing Niala Boodhoo. Erica Pandey from Axios will be with you for the rest of the week. Thanks for listening – stay safe and we’ll have more news tomorrow morning.
It seems like we hear about new cyber-attacks almost every day. Hackers aren’t just attacking big corporations anymore…they’re targeting individuals, schools…city halls. Well, there’s a podcast that will demystify it all — a podcast that tells the stories of people on both sides of the cyber war. It’s called “click here”. No matter where you get podcasts, you can find them “click here”. “