“Our intelligence is what makes us human, and artificial intelligence is an extension of that quality.” ~ Yann LeCun, Professor, New York University ~
Ever since the computer boom of the '50s and '60s, mankind has been fascinated with the technological possibilities that computers offer. Television shows like The Six Million Dollar Man, Small Wonder, and Knight Rider showed how man and machine can work together to improve society. Television like this showed an ideal combination of the two worlds living and working in harmony. On the other hand, movies like Terminator and the Matrix show us dystopian futures where machines took over the world and enslaved humankind.
In the 1950s the idea of sentient computerized intelligence had its first golden age. In 1950, the renowned British mathematician, Alan Turing, proposed the "Turing test" as a way to measure machine intelligence, and the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov published his "three laws of robotics" in the "I, Robot" collection. In his 1951 short story “The Fun They Had,” Asimov even describes a future where children learn at home with robotic teachers. In the years to follow, computer programmers wrote the first game playing programs for checkers and chess and in 1956 the term "artificial intelligence" (AI) was first coined by the computer and cognitive scientist, John McCarthy.
Over the next few decades, as computers became more and more powerful, AI continued to advance. In the mid '70s, AI research halted to a relative standstill since it needed more processing power than the computers of that time could supply. Towards the end of the 20th century, AI research started to blossom once again. The public's interest in A sparked in 1997 when the reigning world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, was beaten by the IBM supercomputer, "Deep Blue".
In 2011, another IBM supercomputer, "Watson," ignited the public's interest in AI when it beat the two most successful competitors in the history of the popular quiz show "Jeopardy." Ken Jennings, one of the beaten human competitors, finished the challenge with the words "I for one welcome our new computer overlords."
What is AI Anyway?
While we are still (hopefully) a long way away from a dystopian future run by computer overlords, we should not ignore these technological advances.
Artificial intelligence is defined as “The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”
Very simply put, if a computer can perform a task as well as a human, that is AI.
The true strength in AI lies in its ability to learn independently from experience. This machine learning (ML) allows the computer to change how it reacts to its surroundings without any additional programming.
Advancements in ML are what enabled AI programs to outperform humans in games such as chess. Despite these abilities, ML still has a long way to go. Even the most advanced ML systems today are designed for excelling at only one single task, such as chess. This "intelligence" cannot be transferred or used outside of that specific task.
In her 2018 book "Machine Learning and Human Intelligence: The future of education for the 21st century," Rosemary Luckin discusses the limitation that ML face today when compared to human intelligence. In the book, she lists seven unique human attributes that AI has yet to master. These attributes are what allow humans to be proficient at numerous tasks and not just single tasks. If AI technologies succeed in acquiring these attributes, the potential of ML will be nearly limitless.
AI in education
This technological revolution has not passed over the world of education. For years now, AI components have been implemented both in and out of the classroom. These systems are helping humans achieve learning goals more efficiently and to become more intelligent. A prime example of this is the use of Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS).
Intelligent Tutoring Systems have been around for over thirty years. These systems integrate AI technology in order to serve as tutors to learners. AI helps the ITS simulate human tutors by enabling the system to monitor the learner’s advancement and emotional state, and offer instant help whenever needed.
Numerous studies have been done on the effectiveness of both human tutors and ITS. These studies have shown that the gap between ITS and human tutors is shrinking, but is still very much present. Despite this gap, some researchers believe that the day when ITS will match the abilities of human tutoring is not far off.
What does the future hold?
This belief is grounded in the growing interest in AI technologies amongst investors. Education technology is on the rise worldwide and is already a multibillion-dollar industry. This industry is expected to grow steadily in the next few years. Many EdTech companies are exploring the potential of AI and many predict that soon we will see educators using AI more and more in order to teach the next generations.
A recent podcast from Stanford’s graduate school of education discussed the future of AI in education. In the podcast, Dan Schwartz, a faculty member of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, discusses how current AI technologies can and should be implemented in education.
Making Better Teachers
Schwartz says that robots won’t replace teachers, but computers can make teachers better at their jobs. Amongst other things, he claims that cameras placed in the classroom can analyze in real-time the reactions of the students and the efficiency of the teachers. This can be a gold mine for teachers who need to deal with an absurd number of students in the classroom.
While we don’t know exactly how AI technologies will develop in the future, it is clear that they will have an important role in educating future generations.
We at Knowsome understand this fact and see ourselves at the forefront of this global revolution. Our technology implements several AI systems and tools in order to make the learning process as efficient as possible for our users.
We believe that learning in the 21st century needs to embrace all the advantages that the 21st century has to offer. The Knowsome team is continuously striving to incorporate state of the art technology to further improve the learning experience of our users. We believe that unlocking the full potential of AI will help us unlock the full potential of ourselves.