Explaining Explainpaper

In my ongoing dabbling to understand what some call AI (@poritzj sez no) I explored a bit of Elicit, a tool aimed at helping locate research papers with AI

In a similar vein comes Explain Paper, which has almost no information about itself besides “Upload a paper, highlight confusing text, get an explanation. A better way to read academic papers.”

But rather than tweeting and running, I like to try things out, first with their sample papers. From what I could see the typical use is highlighting a sentence in a paper, and let the site rephrase it in a more understandable manner. Which it did, following that, you can enter a followup question.

To give it a test, I uploaded a PDF of a recent IRODDL paper Impact of COVID-19 on Formal Education: An International Review of Practices and Potentials of Open Education at a Distance with many co-authors who are here in OEG Connect and presented this work at our conferences before publication.

Keep in mind, I just tried a few things to see what happened. I selected a sentence that describes the research method

First, the approach uses researcher triangulation (Denzin, 1978) to frame research
questions which further increases the reliability and validity of the research (Creswell, 2012; Oppermann, 2000)

and got a slightly rephrased explanation, and it was within seconds.

Then I asked a follow up question that was not explicit in the paper, “How do we know the triangulation method is valid?”

For fun, I tossed in this question: “Are MOOCs the best way to learn online?”

I noticed after a while, any question asked about “the best way” starts with “There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question…”

I could not resist putting in the irrelevant question, “What is the best condiment to put on a hamburger?”

Again, a question to keep in mind- is this intelligence or is this a statistical response model?

Here is another summary for a sentence describing the UNESCO Recommendation on OER:

One might get their hankles up because this is rephrasing the papers sentence slightly different. Do we run for the proctoring software here?

I tried one more sentence in the paper about the summary of OER use on Turkey, along with a followup.

I find the way this is working interesting, and maybe I should have tried a more complex paper? One might say this paper is so well written no AI is needed!

Now I think I should try a paper that explains AI as I have not found anything tha explains it un understandable fashion that does not just get vague and black box mystery like.

Maybe someone else can give Explain Paper a try and see what kind of results you get.


A friend wrote this private Facebook post a week ago:

Today, for the first time in my life, I used the openai gpt model for something serious. I was supposed to write an article, I came up with its structure, and let gpt fill in the rest. I ran it a few times, read the results, then picked out pieces and edited it. It cost me six cents, and saved hours.

Now that’s an interesting use case for gpt.

And as you @cogdog show, once published, the post may be summarized or queried by AI as well.

AI “writing for” AI.

Fun times!

Yes, tools like this & copy.ai seem to be game-changers in education. Assessment practices of written work are going to be transformed

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And maybe the assessments themselves should be changed!