As we plan to dive into the topic of “AI in Education”, we should first know what AI really is. In fact, it is not very easy to explain, as even AI data scientists have a hard time defining it, but in a nutshell we can say that AI is a computer system designed to simulate the human intellect. It is basically a fancy piece of software which performs various tasks only done by humans until very recently. Some basic examples of AI software are face recognition, text autocorrect or chatbots. AI technology is incorporated in very familiar software applications we use daily, such as web search (Google), digital assistants (Siri, Alexa), all social media news feeds, Google/Apple Maps or in consumer electronics products such as vacuum cleaners (e.g. Roomba). More complex AI examples include manufacturing robots, self-driving cars, virtual travel booking agents or automated financial investing.
The advantage is that now humans do not waste valuable time with boring, time consuming routine tasks and we can focus on more creative tasks, which require human interaction – in our case, teachers and school staff can focus more on education.
This is a unique opportunity to spend our working time creating more meaningful things. The evolution of AI does not mean humans will be out of work and doomed to starve to death. The Hollywood image of machines taking over and raging war against humans is, well, just that – a Hollywood interpretation of various scientific facts, portrayed in such a way to generate box office sales. AI technology currently is very far from being able to behave like Terminator. And I mean very, very far away – as in centuries. We can’t even say for sure at the moment that AI will ever be able to go past the “singularity” moment and become self-aware and start thinking on its own. So, rest assured, AI will not attack you, your children and not even your grand-grand children.
The main “threat” posed by AI is replacing humans in performing various tasks. Yes, some jobs will be lost to automation, but other types of jobs will be created to replace the obsolete ones. This is how progress works.
In education though, people should not worry as the teacher / educator jobs are among the less likely to be lost to automation. Jobs such as accountant, telemarketer or courier are among those most likely to be done by AI by 2050.
We will dive more deeper into the automation risk and how can students today avoid them later in our series of articles.
In our next article we will focus on how AI came into existence as a natural next step in evolution in terms of progress and industrial revolution.