There is a buzz around Artificial Intelligence and its increasing role in every facet of society. There is also a great deal of debate about AI, its definition and its future trajectory. I recently talked to Raphael Nolden about his work in this area, especially in relation to machine learning for teaching and learning. Raphael is one of the founders of Amy, a personal maths tutor with potential to support learning in new ways.
Amy will use machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, to create a personalised learning experience for students, focusing on teaching of Maths in senior high school. In its test phase it is targeting Level One of the NZ National Certificate in Education Achievement (NCEA) but it has potential to do much more. Raphael says Amy will learn with the learner, knowing what sort of support the learner needs and tailoring its approach accordingly. Amy personalises the learning, so two people learning the same mathematical concepts will have different experiences. The machine learning process means that algorithms will be able to make decisions without being specifically told to.
As a futurist I am interested in the implications of AI for teaching and learning. Some fear that artificial intelligence will see humans becoming irrelevant. Nolden says people will still want the human touch. He believes that AI can support learning by enabling teachers to focus on the unique emotional and social context of the learner, to provide inspiration, to make links and to make transdisciplinary connections. At the same time helpers such as Amy are scalable, meaning that more have access to learning. This is the democratisation of learning. Amy is developing in ways that may support learning and teaching in revolutionary ways.
From a wider perspective though, the pace of AI development poses risks as well as opportunities to humanity. The video below shows just a few of the ways in which AI is changing our lives for good.
But how real do we want AI to become? Do we want to create humanoid AI? It’s not just teachers that are at risk but potentially humanity. I’m keen to use AI but not sure where the advantages become outweighed by the risk to humanity. What are your thoughts?