Let the Robots into the Classrooms

By on June 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

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During the last decades, computers have been revolutionising society and human interaction. Internet is where we keep in touch with our friends, read the news and watch movies. It is even the place where, in many cases, we study, as there is a variety of educational media available on the internet. If you are  tired of reading your textbook you can watch a YouTube video providing information in an entertaining and visual way and as you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed you’ll likely find yourself reading at least one article from a popscience blog.

This March, the newly developed computer program AlphaGo won a historical victory of 4-1 in a series of five matches of the Chinese board game Go against the leading world champion Lee Sedol. Up until this point, scientists had believed the time when a computer could win a Go game was still far off, as Go has so many possible moves that not even a computer can predict all the possible outcomes during the game. While sceptics are alarmed by AlphaGo’s triumph, scientists specializing in artificial intelligence are rejoicing in the quite unexpected milestone in the construction of intelligent robots. While all is well and good with computers playing board games, the question of how the development of artificial intelligence will affect our daily lives arises. Will computers be teaching the next generation of children?

Well, one could argue that they, to a certain extent, already are. Educational websites like Duolingo and Khan Academy are already collecting your data, keeping track of what you need to practise and giving you feedback on your performance. Of course, teachers still play a vital role in informing, inspiring and interacting with children, but computer programs could provide a wonderful complement, especially for the studying done outside of class, as they are always accessible, always patient and don’t have to divide their time between different students. Intelligent computer programs which adapt their teaching style after the needs of each individual student could revolutionise the school system, enabling all students to reach their potential, regardless of socioeconomic background, special needs or level of ambition.


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