Terms of Service

those confusing terms of serviceTerms of service. That information you tend to avoid reading. Good example: Google's newly updated terms of service, which I found out about in an email last week. I decided to read them.

Their updated terms opens with "We know it’s tempting to skip these Terms of Service, but it’s important to establish what you can expect from us as you use Google services, and what we expect from you. These Terms of Service reflect the way Google’s business works, the laws that apply to our company, and certain things we’ve always believed to be true. As a result, these Terms of Service help define Google’s relationship with you as you interact with our services."

Here are a few items I noted:
Some things considered to be abuse on the part of users includes accessing or using Google services or content in fraudulent or deceptive ways, such as:
creating fake accounts or content, including fake reviews
misleading others into thinking that generative AI content was created by a human
providing services that appear to originate from you (or someone else) when they actually originate from us
providing services that appear to originate from us when they do not
using our services (including the content they provide) to violate anyone’s legal rights, such as intellectual property or privacy rights
reverse engineering our services or underlying technology, such as our machine learning models, to extract trade secrets or other proprietary information, except as allowed by applicable law
using automated means to access content from any of our services in violation of the machine-readable instructions on our web pages (for example, robots.txt files that disallow crawling, training, or other activities)
hiding or misrepresenting who you are in order to violate these terms
providing services that encourage others to violate these terms

Take that second item I highlighted about misleading others into thinking that generative AI content was created by a human, Does that mean that if I use their generative AI or some other provider's AI to help write a blog post that I put here with my name that I am violating their terms of service?

Though I would say that Google's Terms of Service is written in plain langauage that most readers should be able to understand, the implications of some of the terms are much harder to interpret.

NOTE: The Google Terms of Service (United States version) that I reference are effective May 22, 2024.
Archived versions and  Download a PDF



AI and Bias

Bias has always existed. It has always existed online. Now, with AI, there is another level of bias.

Bias generated by technology is “more than a glitch,” says one expert.

For example, why does AI have a bias against dark skin? It is because its data is scraped from the Internet, and the Internet is full of biased content.

This doesn't give AI a pass on bias. It is more of a comment or reflection on bias in general.

Harmful Content Online

girl on phone

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

It is an important issue to cover but, unfortunately, I am not surprised to see a report covered with a BBC headline "More girls than boys exposed to harmful content online."

Teenage girls are more likely to be asked for nude photos online or be sent pornography or content promoting self-harm than boys, a report has found. The report is based on survey responses from around 6,500 young people, and they found that girls are "much more likely to experience something nasty or unpleasant online."

YouTube, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and TikTok were the most popular social media sites for both age groups, but more than three-quarters of 14-18-year-olds also used Instagram.

Many respondents reported spending significant amounts of time online. For instance, a third of 14-18-year-olds reported spending four hours or more online during a school day.  Almost two-thirds reported spending more than four hours online at weekends. One in five 14-18-year-olds said they spent more than seven hours a day online on weekends.

One example is that one in five children and young people who took part in the research said something nasty or unpleasant had recently happened to them online. The most common experience was that "mean or nasty comments" were made about them or sent to them. But there was a difference between boys and girls when it came to the type of nasty online experience they had. Girls were more likely to have mean or nasty comments made about them or rumors spread about them.

More than 5% of girls aged 14-18 said they had been asked to send nude photos or videos online or expose themselves, three times higher than the rate among boys. More than 5% of 14-18 year-old girls also said they had seen or been sent pornography, and twice as many girls as boys reported being sent "inappropriate photos" they had not asked for. More girls than boys also reported being sent content promoting suicide, eating disorders and self-harm.

ChatGPT - That AI That Is All Over the News

Dear ChatGPTSo far, the biggest AI story of 2023 - at least in the education world - is ChatGPT. Chances are you have heard of it. If you have been under a rock or buried under papers you have to grade, ChatGPT is Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer. ChatGPT is the newest iteration of the chatbot that was launched by OpenAI in late 2022.

OpenAI has a whole GPT-3 family of large language models. It has gotten attention for its detailed responses and articulate answers across many domains of knowledge. But in Educationland, the buzz is that it will allow students to use it to write all their papers. The first article someone sent me had a title like "The End of English Classes."

People started to test it out and there were both reactions of amazement at how good it worked, and also criticisms of very uneven factual accuracy.

Others have written about all the issues in great detail and so I don't need to go into great detail here, but I do want to summarize some things that have emerged in the few months it has been in use with the public, and provide some links to further inquiry.

  • Currently, you can get a free user account at https://chat.openai.com/  I was hesitant at first to register because it required giving a mobile phone number and I don't need to get more spam phone calls but I finally created an account so I could do some testing (more on that in my next post)
  • OpenAI is a San Francisco-based company doing AI research and deployment and states that their mission is "to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity."
  • "Open" may be a misnomer in that the software is not open in the sense of open source and the chatbot will not be free forever.
  • ChatGPT can write essays, and articles and even come up with poems, scripts and answer math questions or write code - all with mixed results.
  • AI chatbots have been around for quite a while. You probably have used one online to ask support questions and tools like Siri, Alexa, and others are a version of this. I had high school students making very crude versions of chatbots back in the last century based on an early natural language processing program called Eliza that had been written in the mid-1960s at MIT.
  • Schools have been dealing with student plagiarism since there have been schools, but this AI seems to take it to a new level since OpenAI claims that the content the bot produces is not copied but that the bot generates text based on the patterns it learned in the training data.
  • This may be a good thing for AI in general or further fuel fears of an "AI takeover." You can find more optimistic stories about how AI is shaping the future of healthcare. It can accurately and quickly analyze medical tests and find connections between patient symptoms, lifestyle, drug interactions, etc.
  • I also see predictions that as AI makes the once humans-only skill of writing automated that our verbal skills will carry more weight.

You can write to me at serendipty35blog at gmail.com with your thoughts about these chatbot AI programs or any issues where tech and education cross paths for better or worse.


Forbes says that ChatGPT And AI Will Fuel New EdTech Boom because venture capitalists predict artificial intelligence, virtual reality and video-learning startups will dominate the space in 2023.

This opinion piece compares ChatGPT to the COVID pandemic! insidehighered.com/views/2023/02/09/chatgpt-plague-upon-education-opinion

The New York Times podcast, The Daily, did an episode that included tests of the bot. Listen on Apple Podcasts

A teacher friend posted on his blog a reaction to the idea that ChatGPT is the death of the essay. he says "And here's my point with regard to artificial intelligence: if students are given the chance and the encouragement to write in their own voices about what really matters to them, what possible reason would they have for wanting a robot to do that work for them?  It's not about AI signaling the death of writing. It's about giving students the chance to write about things they care enough about not to cheat."

OpenAI is not alone in this AI approach. Not to be outdone, Google announced its own Bard, and Microsoft also has a new AI that can do some scary audio tricks.

People are already creating "gotcha" tools to detect things written by ChatGPT.

I found a lesson for teachers about how to use ChatGPT with students. Here is a result of asking ChatGPT to write a lesson plan on how teachers can use ChatGPT with students.