Artificial Intelligence May Change The Future Of Education

I have come across the new term “Artificial Intelligence” quite often lately. There have been heated debates across various platforms on whether machines armed with artificial intelligence will ultimately put us out of jobs. Like mechanisation took the place of factory workers two decades ago, same thing could happen to office or white-collar workers in future.

What is Artificial Intelligence? According to Wikipedia, Artificial Intelligence is intelligence displayed by machines, in contrast with natural intelligence, which is displayed by human beings and other animals. An example that most people can easily relate to is robots.

Benefits of Artificial Intelligence

Unlike humans, machines can work non-stop 24/7. It requires no break, unless to prevent overheating problem. It can also be designed to endure extremely unfavorable conditions and sent to places where human beings cannot survive. For example, artificial intelligence can be used for space and ocean floor explorations which may bring about breakthroughs in the scientific research in these areas.

Equipped with relevant data and information, machines can also process information much faster than human beings and reduce the chance of errors to a great extent.

With the above advantages, it is certain that machines with artificial intelligence are superior as compared with human beings in performing repetitive and/or physically challenging tasks. Students have learned about implications of technology advancement on productivity from their economics tutor in economics tuition. With guidance from your economics tutor, explain the costs and benefits of artificial intelligence.

Having said all this, I do not believe that machines will make human beings redundant for the following reasons.

Lack of Creativity

Machines can only perform tasks according to their programming. They are unable to come up with original and creative ideas and improvise to tackle problems based on different situations.

Consistent Performance but No Improvements with Accumulated Experience

Human beings learn from experience. With accumulated experience, we become more skilled and knowledgeable in what we do and are able to improve our work performance over time. This applies to an economics tutor who is supposed to be better with years of experience in teaching economics tuition. On the contrary, machines, by design, are supposed to perform tasks consistently as programmed. Revisit the topic of skilled and unskilled workers in economics tuition and discuss it with your economics tutor. What are the economic benefits of upgrading workers’ skills?

Differentiated Education

Leveraging on its ability to process information fast and systematically, machines equipped with artificial intelligence have the potential to assist human beings in offering differentiated education to different individuals. Can you imagine having a robot as a teaching assistant to your economics tutor or interacting with a robot in economics tuition? This can become a reality in the near future.

According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, the U.S. in 2013, nearly 40 per cent of students surveyed preferred one mode of learning to others. They were either listeners, visual learners or learners by practice. The current education system in Singapore as well as rest of the world does not recognise the difference in students. In school, they are fed with the same information in the same way regardless of their individually different learning needs and talents. The availability of artificial intelligence may improve the situation and bring about revolutionary changes to education, including economics tuition by an economics tutor.

How is it done? Artificial intelligence allows collection of data specific to each individual. The set of data will then be processed and analysed in comparison with existing data sets uploaded into the computer. After data processing and analysis, it will come up with the best approach to suit each student’s learning needs. However, I do not think this can be done with machines alone. It is meant to complement human efforts. I expect the future of education to be a computer assisted education offered by human beings. Let us wait in anticipation, a new age where human beings and robots co-exist to work hand-in-hand for a better future of mankind.

Linda Geng

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