What does the AI schism mean for schools? | Sanje Ratnavale | 5 Min Read

November 20, 2023

Last week in the beating heart of Silicon Valley, where humanity is not short of messiahs, a very human story started with independent school parallels and emerging impacts—one that is still unfolding. A deep dive into the tensions that have led to this schism is necessary for independent schools before they consider large scale changes to their curriculum and program around a technology that is still far from being a sustainable and usable product. 

The tension at OpenAI ironically mirrors the tension we see at independent schools: our schools are non-profit organizations essentially running a product-based business (a school with enrollment and a range of services) but at the same time often aspiring to a higher future-focused purpose (a mission) that might require greater investment, research, and development. In both circumstances the conflict is real; the demands on resources equally acute; the access or availability of computing or cognitive capacity for growth similarly limited: and the effects on humanity also at stake, albeit in different ways. 

The non-profit Board of OpenAI, which controls the for-profit subsidiary responsible for ChatGPT (see chart below), fired its CEO Sam Altman. Details are sketchy but it seems that at the…

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Sanje Ratnavale

Sanje founded OESIS in 2012 and serves as the President of what has grown to become the leading network for innovation at independent schools: the acronym OESIS grew from the initial focus on Online Education Strategies for Independent Schools. He has held senior administrative positions at independent schools including Associate Head of School at a K-12 school for seven years, High School Principal for three years, and CFO for seven years. Prior to making a switch to education, Sanje spent 15 years in venture capital, investment banking, and senior C-level (CEO, COO, CFO) management. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford University (B.A. and M.A. in Law/Jurisprudence). Sanje is based out of Santa Monica.