Beyond Turing: Artificial Intelligence Over Real Teachers??


artificial intelligence

What happens when we prefer artificial intelligence to real teachers?

I used to ask audiences two questions in rapid succession. First, “How many of you support the use of genetic engineering with humans?” Almost no hands would go up. In fact, I could hear gasps of disgust, as if I had asked, “How many of you support puppy killing just for the heck of it?” Then I would ask, “How many of you would support genetic engineering to save the life of your child?” Almost all hands would go up. Audience members were left to reconcile their responses.

By the way—I no longer ask these questions because we have come to expect gene therapy to help us live longer, healthier lives. In fact, we impatiently wait for its advances. What a difference twenty years can make.

When technology gets up close and personal

We are philosophical about adopting technology when dealing with it in the abstract. But our perspective changes dramatically when technology is up close and personal, especially when it comes to our children. After all, we’ll do anything for our kids. Otherwise, what kind of parents would we be?

So, let’s update my questions. “How many of you support the use of artificial intelligence to assist and perhaps replace human tutors in the education of your children?” My guess is few reading this are raising their hands. In fact I can hear whispers of disbelief emanating from the other side of the screen. Let me rephrase. “How many of you would support educational support systems that ensure the academic success of your children, even if it means using bots and other AI creations?” Pause. Still not sure? “The AI tutors are mobile, inexpensive and available 24/7. They are personalized, and continually adapt to your child’s learning style. They greatly improve the chance your child will succeed in school. And, above all, your kid loves using them.” Welcome to AI. When technology gets up close and personal, we say “bring it on.”

Touring Turing