AI Natives vs AI Immigrants

Carlos Santos
2 min readMar 15, 2024

This morning, I asked ChatGPT to create a new “theory” by adapting Mark Presnky’s “Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants” to the new world of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It looks sexy to think about “AI Natives vs AI Immigrants”, and it took less than 5 minutes!

I bet the TEL community will bring this quickly, repeating the same mistakes as the “digital natives” thing.

(Or maybe I’m outdated, and someone already did it)

(ChatGPT 4, 2024; prompt by Marta Fradique)

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The Theory of AI Natives and AI Immigrants:

In the era of rapid technological advancement, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI), we observe a distinction between those who have grown up in a world where AI is ubiquitous and seamlessly integrated into daily life, and those who have had to adapt to AI later in life. This theory posits the existence of “AI Natives” and “AI Immigrants,” drawing parallels to Mark Prensky’s concept of digital natives and digital immigrants.

AI Natives are individuals who have been exposed to AI technologies from an early age, often since childhood. They have grown up in environments where AI-powered systems, such as virtual assistants, recommendation algorithms, and autonomous devices, are pervasive and deeply integrated into various aspects of their lives. As a result, AI Natives demonstrate a natural fluency and comfort with leveraging AI tools and understanding their capabilities and limitations. They possess an intuitive understanding of how AI systems operate and are adept at utilizing them to enhance productivity, creativity, and decision-making.

On the other hand, AI Immigrants are individuals who have encountered AI technologies later in life and have had to adapt to their presence and functionalities. These individuals may have initially encountered AI through workplace automation, smart devices, or algorithmic recommendations. Unlike AI Natives, AI Immigrants may experience a learning curve and may require additional effort to fully grasp the intricacies of AI systems and their potential applications. However, with time and experience, AI Immigrants can develop proficiency in leveraging AI tools to augment their skills and address challenges in their personal and professional lives.

This theory suggests that the upbringing and exposure to AI technologies significantly influence individuals’ attitudes, skills, and adaptability in navigating an AI-driven world. Just as digital natives and digital immigrants exhibit distinct approaches to technology, AI Natives and AI Immigrants may demonstrate varying levels of fluency and comfort with AI systems. Understanding these differences is essential for designing effective educational strategies, workplace environments, and societal frameworks that harness the benefits of AI while addressing potential challenges and disparities in adoption and adaptation.
(ChatGPT, 2024; prompt by Carlos Santos)