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06.06.2023 Today’s Insights from the Wall Street Journal – Verbal Communication Skills in the Generative AI Era

06.06.2023 Today’s Insights from the Wall Street Journal – Verbal Communication Skills in the Generative AI Era
Dear Students,
Ambitious international students like you can’t really be faulted for hoping that ChatGPT and similar generative AI tools will be a boon to your ability to compete with Americans, in both academic and professional settings. No longer, you may reason, do you have to pore over translating software from the 1-million-word English language – containing the most words of any tongue globally – in an effort to devise creative ways to express your research, share your perspectives and convey your data findings in papers, reports, presentations, etc.
Yet schools, universities and organizations, as we are seeing, are already somewhat uncomfortable about how such tools “level the playing field,” even if there are clear societal benefits to their doing so. One solution – compensating for a lack of “control” over the source of an individual’s written communications – is by requiring students like you and professionals to perform orally, in real-time.
As the article below points out, “Oral exams date back at least to ancient Greece, when Socrates famously questioned students in Athens. They were the traditional method of testing at universities for hundreds of years…” What’s more, as one engineering student put it, “…on an oral exam, you have to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing.” Perhaps even more interestingly, “Nearly two thirds of students report that they are more highly motivated to learn the subject when they have an oral exam.” In fact, “Grades increase by about 10% [when they have to do so].” (So, ironically, it could be argued that everyone wins, as a result of using this method!)
What all of this may mean is an even greater emphasis placed on candidates’ verbal English communication skills moving forward. Written “AI cheating” may thus drive students and young professionals like you to more quickly build a very strong English vocabulary, to hone your grammatical skills, to develop a level of fluency enabling you to maneuver in real-time and to attain an even greater ability to think quickly on your feet. Internationals like you, similar to the rest of us, may well be asked to write less and speak more, particularly in circumstances where it can be easy to leverage the work of others. The article, in fact, cites that according to one plagiarism-detection system, “4% of papers turned in were generated almost entirely by AI.” Wouldn’t an aspiring professional like you be a bit embarrassed to find yourself among this group?
We encourage candidates like you to capitalize, instead, on the many opportunities you receive in our program to practice your verbal English skills, in the strong hands of our experienced, articulate, patient coaches. As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” so we’re here to help you to make a great one!
Have a well-spoken evening.