Writing Speculative Fiction

“Jon knew that almost all of the work being submitted by students had in fact been produced by some sort of AI or other. If not the whole thing, then at least it had been co-written with natural language processing assistance.”

Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

In late 2022 the journal Postdigital Science and Education issued a call for short stories and vignettes in the form of speculative fiction that look at education in the postdigital era.

I took the opportunity to write a short piece and was delighted that it was accepted. I was also really impressed with the editors and the amount of support and help provided with this journal.


Student Henri Kase sighed as she hit the ‘Submit’ button on the university’s Next Generation Leaning Management System (NGLMS). What a farce, she thought to herself. At least the new GPT-15 natural language processor meant that she did not have to waste too much time on these stupid and ultimately meaningless tasks. When will the education system finally wake up to the world in 2035? Who had the time to possibly read all those boring old eBooks and papers? Why read them anyway when a personal AI could give a neat summary of all the key points?

Henri stretched her back and neck, reaching for her VR headset so that she could get back to the CryptoSouk™ and start trading again. That was, after all, the activity that paid for her university fees and living expenses.

Curcher, M. The Pseudo Uni. Postdigit Sci Educ (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-022-00384-3

To continue reading click here.

Having never written in this style before, it was an interesting experience and on I am tempted to explore again. I got the timeline completely wrong, when I drafted the first version ChatGPT had not been launched and I was looking more than 10 years into the future. It now seems as if this is about coming year.

This was written based on my experiences of trying the GPT-3 playground and was written before ChatGPT was launched and then really took off. The mainstream media and education seems to be in something of a frenzy over this, for understandable reasons.

I have been thinking of writing some posts about the impact of ChatGPT and other LLM technologies on education, but already there is probably a surplus of writing on this topic, with everyone and her dog having sort sort of “hot take” on what this might mean for education. For sure we do need to be talking seriously about this and at the same time we want to avoid making badly informed and poorly thought through knee jerk decisions. We teach in interesting times!

Also be sure to check out the many other excellent submissions to this call, including The Levity Bureau by my good friend Chris Smith.