ChatGPT might now be the best and cheapest tutor for teens

When it comes to choosing a tutor for your children, there are a few things to take into account.

For many parents, this starts with recommendations from other parents, or even companies that hire tutors. It also includes what their grades are, what their future plans are, and other things like: do they have their own transport, do they have their own textbooks and materials, can they be left alone and trusted with your children, and how much will it cost you? Some local tutors start at R75 an hour.

What if a tutor checked all these boxes, was available 24/7 and cost less than R400 a month?

The latest updated generative AI from OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, is now capable of giving incredibly authentic-sounding responses, perhaps the closest we have ever gotten to an AI responding like a human. They’re calling it GPT-4o, and at yesterday’s Spring Updates showcase, OpenAI detailed all its new features.

Part of the presentation saw the CEO of online educational platform Khan Academy, Sal Khan use the updated ChatGPT to help his teen son Imran with a trigonometry question. While it is likely that Khan prepared for the beginning of this video presentation, his and his son’s reactions to the AI seem genuine to us.

To begin with, Khan is sharing the screen on his tablet between Khan Academy and ChatGPT, and begins by giving the AI an oral prompt, telling it to help his son with the problem, but “not give him the answer” and only “nudge him in the right direction.”

He also gives ChatGPT access to the tablet’s camera, so it is watching him and responding to him in real-time with responses fashioned to sound entirely like a real person, including breathing sounds, stuttering, pauses and space-fillers.

In real-time, ChatGPT tracks Imran’s voice, his drawing on the tablet, and is able to adequately help the teen through the mathematics problems. It even gives him a congratulatory message when he finishes the exercise.

You don’t need a tablet to replicate this. With ChatGPT’s visual tracking feature, you can show it pictures or diagrams and math problems and it will help you in the same kind of way. All you really need to be able to do is give the right prompts, have internet access, and have a smartphone that can run the ChatGPT app.

GPT-4o will likely be bundled in the ChatGPT Plus subscription offer, which currently costs R370 a month, giving access to all of the company’s latest features.

OpenAI will only continue to improve its generative AI models into the future. If used responsibly, the technology has massive potential to aid students around the world and save parents some money. That’s a big if though, as the technology is being used consistently to bypass learning across high schools and even in universities.

But it is exciting and makes us wish we had GPT-4o when we were busy with finals in high school.


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