Episode 13: AI Disruptions for Education in the Coming Decade

by Feb 17, 2020

Welcome to Education and Technology Futures, a videocast that highlights interesting trends and connections in the worlds of education, technology, and culture.

In the coming decade, advancements in AI will make it difficult to know whether you are talking to a real person or an AI, in what language a video was originally recorded,  or who or what actually assembled and edited the information you’re reading. This, in turn, means big challenges for education.

Full Transcript

Full Transcript

If you’re like me, you spend most of your time focused on today and the issues and challenges right in front of you. And most days it seems like we have more than enough to say grace over without conjuring up unseen possibilities form the future.

That said, some of these future challenges are close enough that it doesn’t hurt to at least keep up with the trends so that we can prepare for what likely to transpire.

I think AI and its various permutations certainly falls into this category. For example, think about these seemingly independent news items, all having to do with advancements in AI.

First up is news from Google that its chatbot us almost capable of human conversation. Conversational AI uses natural language processing models to interpret human speech and respond appropriately. To date, chatbots are good at receiving instructions and providing simple responses. What Google is talking about goes way beyond that, moving Conversational AI to human levels and eventually making it indistinguishable from speaking to real people.

Or, consider the research being done by researchers at the International Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad, India. They have created an AI that can dub video in multiple languages and, in the process, alter lip-synching to make it appear as if the actor were actually speaking the dubbed language.

Or, think about MIT’s latest AI that can rummage through the millions of Wikipedia pages, sniff around for outdated data, and replace it with the most recent information available on the internet in a “human-like” style. The system analyzes for style and grammar and also has a fact-checking and neutrality component.

What all this adds up to is a world, in the next decade, where it will be difficult at times to know whether you are talking to a real person or an AI, where it may be impossible to identify the language in which a video was originally recorded,  or to know who or what actually assembled and edited the information you’re reading.

There are many education-related issues here, and some of them are already popping up. One example is the algorithmically generated essays that students can purchase.

Moving forward, we will be confronted by and need to be thinking about issues such as authorship, original work, copyright, and integrity as they relate to AI. We might also think about content ownership, intellectual property, plagiarism detection, curriculum design, and new forms of assignments and assessments.

Regardless of what we do, AI will be a game-changer and most of us are probably behind when it comes to anticipating the disruption it will introduce in education.

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