This is the first article in a series discussing how AI will likely be tasked with solving some of our problems in the near future.
A useful definition:
Strong Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a theoretical form of machine intelligence that is equal to human intelligence. Key characteristics of Strong AI include the ability to reason, solve puzzles, make judgments, plan, learn, and communicate. (1)
Education is fundamental to a well-developed society. Given that premise, the US is spending far too much money on public schools and education for a pitiful return on investment. The current amount appears to be more than USD 700 billion in the 2015–2016 school year or about $13K+ for each student (2). One can point the finger at many causes, a few of the usual suspects are; the teachers, the union, politics, and embedded interests. These have all conspired to either reduce the overall benefits or increase the costs of education in the US.
What’s wrong with the current system?
- Classroom Size
- Family Factors
- Bullying, Violence, and Safety
- Student Attitudes and Behaviors
- No Child Left Behind
- Parental Involvement
It is widely regarded that the smaller the classroom size the more effective the education. So how about a classroom size of 1?
Poverty has a singularly deleterious effect on the benefits of education. An AI-based system would greatly even the playing field in this scenario.
Family factors could be greatly reduced if an effective AI-based system were brought to bear.
Technology, based on an evolving AI, driven by the best efforts in Machine Intelligence and whatever other AI technologies can be applied should be available to all students equally.
Cloud Schooling, based on AI would greatly limit the violence, bullying and improve the safety of students. No more school shootings!
Student attitudes and behaviors could more effectively be treated and responses tailored to individuals.
Finally, ‘No Child Left Behind’ could become a reality.
Requirements for Parental involvement are greatly reduced. If so desired the parent can view progress and be as involved as they want since the student.
Cloud schooling with AI (2)
Phase out the existing expensive and failing system of public schools, teachers, unions, school boards, textbook publishers and related committees with a comprehensive nationwide cloud AI-based education system. 1% of the previous years’ budget could easily fund a significant investment in AI aimed at vastly improving our educational system.
In the event that parents or supervisory adults are not available in the home the students and young children should attend a daycare type facility where the cloud AI-based education would continue. The burden of teacher certifications and requirements is reduced such that only a bare minimum of supervisory effort is required if any at all.
At birth, every student is given an AI interface device, terminal, keyboards or whatever is possible/monitoring device. The machine can use video and audio as well as other input features to interact with the student. The student effectively grows up being monitored and measured by the AI continuously. The device would be upgraded as necessary and as additional technology can be brought to bear.
Privacy is maintained by the AI in that all interactions between the AI and students are not subject to outside influence. No ads or biased speech, racism or religion are permitted within this channel. Ay instances of this that inadvertently creep in would be removed once discovered.
What would we like to have in terms of US K-12 and beyond education and how might an advanced AI help us to achieve those goals?
- Less Expensive
- Better Education
- More thorough
- 24X7 availability
- Better albeit less frequent socialization
- Consistent results
- Continuous and individualized progress reports
- Reduced interference from parents, government
- Less Political influence
- Individualized and specific to each student
Effectively we want the student and AI to engage in a lifelong relationship where the AI monitors and educates each student for life. The AI could effectively become a life and education coach working to ensure the best possible outcomes. The AI should determine the student’s strengths and weaknesses as the student progress and adapt the educational effort accordingly. This individualized educational experience would go a long way toward achieving better results in outcomes.
The Experience of Education
Consider an educational experience that is specifically tailored to each student. It should begin at the earliest possible time in a student’s life and be available in the cloud or anywhere else. It should be engaging and naturally draw the student’s interest with games and whatever inducements are possible. It should be a natural learning experience for the student. Speech, dialogue, text, video, and audio should be created by the AI and exposed to the student all while continuously monitoring the feedback from the student. The AI should tailor the student’s experience for maximum effect.
How to bring this about
AI and Machine Intelligence are driven by and based on the analysis of large datasets. Collect the data, develop the system and continuously evolve it to produce the desired results. This is already being done to some extent in that Google’s Chromebooks and similar tools are already in place in many schools. The rise of a multitude of online cloud-based courses already portends an improved educational experience. With a decent budget, the existing public school system and all its myriad facets would be phased out and eventually replaced.
There would be significant disruption to the US public school system which must be managed carefully. A lot of teachers will be replaced. School boards rendered useless and unnecessary, textbook publishers all but forgotten. Eventually, entire schools would be decommissioned and the resources repurposed for more necessary uses. The changes to the economy will be significant. Many jobs will be lost. But our public school system is not a jobs program. The transition to a better system will be painful but the benefits will outweigh the costs.