There are numerous films that have been made where some sort of Artificial Intelligence was created to better human life on this planet. And you know in each of these films, the artificial intelligence slowly starts to take over and control the world’s population. War Games, The Matrix, The Terminator, and I, Robot all provide warnings about artificial intelligence and machines. Is artificial intelligence next going to conquer the world of education?
Sir Anthony Sheldon, head of one of Britain’s most well-known public schools, predicts that within ten years, computers will be equipped with the artificial intelligence needed to be the sole educator of each and every student. Sheldon mentions that the role of the teacher in the classroom will change dramatically and the person will just be in charge of managing the discipline and keeping the different learning machines running. Sort of like an assistant to the robot teacher.
The software will be tailored to the learning styles of each student. They will be equipped with the programs needed that allow the student to learn at their own pace. Students will no longer have to wait for others that may be struggling in some content area. The artificial intelligence of the software will create the correct personality needed to be displayed by the computer for the student’s benefit. Sheldon is boldly predicting machines will be replacing the teacher within a decade. But is he correct? Can human teachers be replaced so easily and quickly?
The First Baby Step
The trajectory of artificial intelligence taking over education has been rising year by year. Classes have been offered, mostly at the high school and college levels, totally online for almost two decades now. Teachers educating students without having any idea what they look like or the sound of their voice. The educators would not be able to pick their students out of a lineup.
Online tutoring is now a common theme as well. No longer are your students having to use a tutor in your town because of the need to be geographically close. Online tutors across the globe are now available to everyone. The thought of being able to be tutored without even knowing your tutor’s face would have been astounding as recently as 25 years ago.
However, both of these matters, online education and tutoring, still have an actual living and breathing teacher on the other side of the computer screen. Everything is still facilitated and ran by an actual person. Artificial intelligence is something entirely different.
What Exactly is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that places the emphasis on the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. A self-thinking and self-reasoning machine that has no soul or flesh and blood body. An individual entity entirely created by technology.
Some of the activities computers with artificial intelligence are designed for and are already able to do includes learning, planning, problem solving, and any sort of speech recognition. Human labour is becoming more automated by the day. Banks are using their ATM machines to complete many tasks that once could only be accomplished by a teller. Self-driving cars are emerging from several companies in the very near future. If we are placing our lives and our family’s lives on the line and trusting self-driving AI cars, is it really too far down the road where we trust machines to do more and more for us?
Some surgeries are already being performed by machines. Years from now, when we have a cavity, will it be taken care of entirely by a self-thinking machine? An AI machine that can reason and make judgements in different circumstances without bias could eventually replace actual judges. Court lawyers could become obsolete with artificial intelligence being able to process information without the lawyer’s twisting of the facts. Is it too preposterous to consider that AI will be taking over the world of education?
It is a bit questionable to believe that artificial intelligence will be essentially replacing classroom teachers within a decade. Even if the technology is there, the thought of educating students entirely through AI would not be welcomed by most parents.
The field of education is not something that changes easily. The one room schoolhouse has been essentially replaced by a bigger schoolhouse with more teachers and students thrown into it. Computers have only been introduced really into most school districts within the last 25 years. But before that, teaching has been accomplished the same way for the last couple centuries. Teachers instruct using textbooks and lecture the students on the knowledge they want to impart to them. Replacing human teachers in the classroom will take much longer than the next ten years. But further down the road, there is a good possibility AI will enter the teaching profession and change it forever.
The biggest companies in the world are now investing in artificial intelligence like never before. That trend is not about to ease up anytime soon. Google, Microsoft, and Apple are just a few of the major companies leading the way. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for mankind.
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