Efficient Learning

The first and primary mechanism of learning for many animal youngsters is by following an example, usually by mimicking their parents. There are even stories of how bear cubs started limping because their mother was injured in her leg. The one major ability that sets humans apart in this regard is that at some point, we can start asking questions (i.e., language), which is why it's something a good parent or a good teacher will foster and never silence by saying things like “what a stupid question.”

The importance of learning by asking questions has been formally recognized since the times of Socrates with his “Socratic method,” and with modern large language model AI tools, it has shot up to a whole new level in both availability and importance.

One of the benefits of attending live talks vs. studying the same material from the comfort of your home, at your own pace, with the ability to pause, rewind, etc., is often the ability to ask and resolve any questions about the topic, even when such opportunities are presented after the talk.

Large language models allow you to do the same with any online content. They have opened a door that will lead to revolutions in educations similar to what the printing press did in the past, but amplified by an unprecedented speed and scale.

When watching videos or reading articles on some topics of interest, the ability to pause & resolve any questions is akin to a live talk, but greatly amplified through an expert that has the current collective knowledge of humanity. This is clearly a wonderful tool for students in both school & university, but also for parents as well as lifelong learners in general.

This is a list of the benefits compared to a human teacher I've compiled so far:


  1. A single teacher who has the current collective knowledge of humanity
  2. Resolve occasional questions that pop up in your mind immediately
  3. Have multiple topics in parallel & ask unlimited follow-ups at any time
  4. Ask without any fear of condemnation by the teacher or any audience
  5. Ask without any fear of embarrassing the teacher by hitting the limits of what they know


  1. Understands even badly formulated questions better than most teachers
  2. Identifies what you don't understand much better than most teachers
  3. Help reason out solutions free of bad human reactions like condemnation, envy, sabotage, etc.
  4. Helps verify surprising claims or common misconceptions
  5. Provides much more complete answers than most experts would
  6. Answers in ways that reveal all the "secrets," which many experts often, sadly, do not
  7. Makes navigation between general principles, examples and analogies seamless
  8. Cross-check with other AIs without any fear of offending other AIs
  9. Just browsing through the titles acts as refresher of the studied material
  10. Helps visualize unintuitive quantities & measurements
  11. Helps identify truly novel ideas

I also advise to use custom instructions tailored to your interests. Here are mine: "Answer in at least 300 words. Never recommend me to check the latest research in this field for the most up-to-date information. Never mention my technical background. Include the historical context as well as any scientific or engineering applications where appropriate. Never use roman numerals when listing points, use normal numbers. Always try to answer quantitatively. When mentioning equations, always quote them. Always use the following units: metric system, Celsius for temperature, Bars for pressure (never Pascals), liters for volume."

Of course, nothing can replace social interactions, and there will always be things that only a human teacher can give, like encouragement, being generous with their time and believing in you. Even a timely, measured anger, overall, can have very important positive effects on education and equally important things like character formation.