A call for Digital Education
Good educators are rare. In some areas of the world even teachers are almost non extant.
the other hand technical gadgets have become omnipresent. Some people
seek (and find) interesting and useful knowledge in their Smartphones
and tablets. That does not yet make these
gadgets into coaches, teachers or professors. For that, it takes more.
It takes the cloud, it takes artificial intelligence (AI) quite some
more work – and better visions.
These pages are
about the “impossible” task of developing AIs that can teach humans
useful skills and even social skills. The task will have to aim beyond
transfer and beyond Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that merely
broadcast classical teaching. More than ever, education has to guide
single individuals to actual physical experiences in order to
accomplish practical competences. Seeing something in a movie ist fine for preparations, but does not replace personal experience.
education has to yield revenue, too. It must lead to new personnel (not
only for IT companies), to more customers, to cash generated (for
shareholders) or to better educated
citizens and professionals (for states and countries).
scarcity of good teachers even in rich countries (leave alone the poor
ones), there is hardly an alternative to digital help. Training good
teachers has always taken decades.
It has always been expensive and will be so for many decades to come.
The recent boom of online tutoring in China shows the need but does not
carry far enough.
Artificial Intelligent Education (AIE) for all learners will be available much earlier. It will be a lot cheaper.
in 2018 we talk to Alexa (Amazon), Watson (IBM) or Siri (Apple) - and
get some useful answers! Similarly Cortana (Microsoft), the Google
Assistant, Baidu Assistant, Bixby (Samsung),
Braina, Jibo and others, lesser known. We cannot speak to them yet as
we do with humans, but a whole industry is working on it, making AI a
hot bet for the “next big thing”.
high class digital education program needs to be much more than those
assistants are today. It is much more than a standardized teacher
inside a tablet. It is not restricted to recite
given lectures or to quote out of a standardized set of lessons. An
ideal digital education program utilizes a constantly growing pool of
knowledge plus a vast variety of pedagogical approaches. Ideally, it
adapts itself to
every pupil in every situation anew. Given enough time (and some genius
programmers), educational AI can even behave fancy and surprising
towards its pupil to keep interest high.
accomplish its goal of better and cheaper education for the masses, it
must be more interesting than Facebook or YouTube. To “know” its
learners better, it will accumulate
more personal data and thus attract advertisers.
Brad Smith [President of Microsoft], calls digital assistants “the alter ego of the future”.
Imagine playful, lifelong learning with a constantly present electronic genius at your side! How different would your
life have been so far? And think of some applicants you might have seen
or heard of recently. Did some of them have good notes in clases - and
no idea of work and daily practice?
Your grandchildren should face a better future - at least as regards education.
will be visionaries, shareholders, programmers and inventors who decide
whether AI Education becomes a soulless monster or mankinds beloved
next big thing. Their and your children,
grandchildren and neighbours will be their judges.
pages ar not about buying some tablets for school classes or about new
lessons nor programming. It outlines some very practical and some
visionary views, bridging between classical humanism and future AI uses. It
excerpts my recent research in present education developments,
worldwide. It also gives programmers some hints to competitors and
broadens the prospect of investors.