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Excerpt
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A call for Digital Education


Good educators are rare. In some areas of the world even teachers are almost non extant.

On 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 mere knowledge 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.

Digital 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).

Seeing the 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.

As 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”.

A 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.

To 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.

It 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.

These 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.



For release date and subscription contact:
Bernhard W. S. Sandkühler
Hauptstrasse 175a
D-68535 Edingen-Neckarhausen
Germany

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