Artificial Intelligence & Learning (a dummy’s guide)

Moya Gibb-Smith
School, Learning Capacity, Artificial Intelligence

Speaking almost sixty six years ago Professor John McCarthy, one of the founding fathers of AI said at the Dartmouth University conference 1956 , “Every aspect of learning... can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” 

Stephen Hawking, the famous theoretical physicist, said “Every aspect of our lives will be transformed by AI” and it could be “the biggest event in the history of our civilisation”.

Here are some more interesting facts:

AI performs frequent, high volume computerised tasks reliably and without fatigue.

AI can add intelligence to an existing product. eg robotic vacuum cleaners.

AI adapts through progressive learning algorithms to let the data do the programming. AI finds structure and regularities in data so that the algorithm acquires a skill. Just like when it recommends something to you on Facebook.

AI feeds on data, the more data you give the computer the more accurate it becomes. In the medical field image classification and object recognition can now be used to find cancer on MRIs with the same accuracy as highly skilled radiologists.

AI gets the most out of the data. When the answers are in the data you use AI to get them out. The person with the best data has an advantage. AI can learn patterns in the data to automate tasks for a variety of benefits.

What does that mean for teachers and students?

In the future no one will hire you because of what you know. Google already knows everything. You will get hired because of what you are able to do with your knowledge.

Future economic growth will come from non-routine creative knowledge work. Work that aims to design solutions to solve problems in the world.

Lecturers standing in front of a class of students trying to transfer their knowledge into the student’s minds isn’t going to work in the future.

Students must get a chance to apply their knowledge. For example at Stanford University, industry partners give students problems and they must come up with solutions. They must understand the problem and design the solutions.

These courses will be shaping the future of education.

Problem based learning, where simulation happens in a safe environment, and where students have a chance to fail will become the norm. The students will be immersed over a longer time frame to solve problems.

Exams keep trying to force you to come up with the one right answer and creativity is little understood.

Creativity is not regarded as an important part of our educational system. Kids don’t know if they’re creative. They don’t know what they can be creative in. Yet in the future creativity will be one of  the most desirable qualities in a person.

We need to change our education systems to solve real world problems in an environment which simulates the real world and for that we need creative minds.

For years the skills that have been acclaimed have been in maths and science. Now may be the time for the arts to shine.

AI enhanced learning program used right now around the world

One of the leading applications of AI to learning & teaching is the neuroscience-based Fast ForWord program.

This program is being widely used by students around the world right now to enhances their learning capacity. The scientists who developed Fast ForWord use AI to deliver personalised exercises every session.

The clever algorithms adjust the degree of difficulty of each exercise to the specific needs of the child. It’s like having an expert teacher who gets to know each student and designs each new exercise session by watching how they coped with the previous one. And then making sure they are challenged just enough to keep them progressing, but not too much to discourage them.

Learn about the AI-driven adaptive program Fast ForWord here.