AI is already an inseparable part of our lives – it’s in our cars, our homes and our phones. Major tech companies have their own AI, implemented in a variety of their products – whether it’s Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant. These programs are becoming increasingly sufficient to answer our questions, so how does this translate in our educational system? They can help us find accurate information, so why are schools not jumping at this exciting new opportunity?
Our educational system is currently stuck in its well-tested “ancient” methodology where by default teachers are the one and only true source of information. Even though minimized in terms of exposure, personal beliefs of educators can still influence how information is conveyed. For example I had a teacher who loved providing religious examples, even though at a very young age I had atheistic beliefs. But this is still a small problem, compared to the job-related skills of tomorrow. The World Economic Forum estimated that 65% of primary school students today will have jobs that do not exist today. It turns out that while knowledge will always be valuable, flexibility and the ability to retrain will be even more important. Finland has abolished the passive learning paradigm and students work in groups, learning problem solving, under the guidance of a teacher. This step is definitely In the right direction in terms of personal development and acquiring a skill set that will serve well in the future.
We still have not reached singularity – the point, where algorithms will be able to learn by themselves. Today AI can provide you with information within seconds, whereas 30 years ago people had to go to the library. More often than not, however, personal assistants either cannot find the right answer or the one they provide is wrong. One still does not have to go to the library, but rather use search engines. Today we have enormous amounts of information and cheap computing power so it is no wonder that an ever-increasing number of companies are investing in creating their own AI – algorithms that “learn how to learn” in order to navigate this vast sea of information.
AI is far from what people would like it to be right now. Machines still need human guidance and are mostly used for people to improve their productivity. Since the dawn of time we have used tools to improve our work. However, now is the only time in history where the tools are being developed at warp-speed and one way or another we will reach singularity. So we have to tread carefully. Until this happens we have to train the only superintelligence we have – the human brain and its carriers – the people. This means radically reevaluating our educational system. It is estimated that creativity will become the most important job skill so lets minimize the risk of creating more future unemployment.