Original article was published on Becoming Human: Artificial Intelligence Magazine
We can say that the opportunity to acquire knowledge in older times was a privilege. If we look at medieval Europe, where only clergymen and members of the upper classes could study and even among those only men, the first sentence must be true. However, this does not mean at all that in today’s modern world, everyone has equal access to education. The less developed countries of the world suffer from inadequate education infrastructure due to poverty, even though it would be advanced education that could solve the problem of poverty.
How important is the quality of education for the well-being of a nation? As we will see: very much!
Let’s take a look at some of the outstandingly successful countries of the 20th Century in terms of development. I don’t think of anyone other than the tigers of Asia: Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. These countries (or parts of countries) that have been able to show and sustain incredible, stable growth of over 7% for several decades between the 1960s and 1990s.
What is the reason behind this unparalleled result?
A country’s economy is capable of such growth if its companies suddenly become globally competitive. The goods they extract and sell will drag the country’s economy with them. Companies need a fresh, skilled, up-to-date workforce who can only reach this level and be competitive if they have actually acquired this knowledge before. The state must create the necessary conditions for this and devote massive financial funding to the development of education.
A common point in the success of the Asian tigers is that they all spent relatively large sums on education in the 20th century. South Korea, for example, spent 9% of its GDP on education in 1973. In these countries, attitudes towards human capital are also culturally favorable and the population has a greater appreciation for citizens with a degree. Without this cultural mindset and financial support for education, it is highly unlikely that these countries could have accomplished the transition from a developing country to a developed country.
To what extent can artificial intelligence improve such an important area of human interaction?
If we think about it, the current education system hasn’t evolved much in the last 200 years. The individual competencies of students are ignored and every one of them needs to listen to the same presentation. Meanwhile, we emphasize everyone’s individuality and that no two people are the same in both ability and talent. Here the question arises: Is it not a sin to treat the individual as identical?
After completing basic education students can, in principle continue their studies in a specialized field according to their abilities, but how true is this? Everyone has and should have the freedom to choose a career, but unfortunately, we see students who have lost their careers more often than enough. According to a professor from a real but unnamed university, ⅓ of graduates are dropouts. But there is a more desperate data: according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, only 27% of college graduates work in a field related to their degree. This data already amounts to a confirmation that the education system has failed to match competencies to market needs.
This number can be so high for several reasons. On the one hand, students tend to recognize that they have not chosen a career according to their strengths and do not want to stay in the field.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” — Albert Einstein
On the other hand, market coercion plays a role. Unfortunately, not all degrees are needed by the market in the quantities available. However, the reverse is also true, there is not enough labor from many marketable shortage occupations.
Modern data science and AI can provide a solution to all this.
The emergence of technologies such as Big Data coupled with AI & Data science does wonders when there is a large amount of data available which can then be used to observe the patters to successfully solve the problem.
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Every student has to go through a learning curve whether they like the subject that they learn or not which can give the opportunity to collect a large amount of data if we record every single struggle, achievement and learning behavior of every student which can help the teacher to evaluate the strengths and weakness in the learning process of a particular pattern of a student hence discovering the hidden talent that every student carries inside without actually recognizing it. These fields of science could be used to analyze student performance: the learner is skillful geometry but poor in algebra. Market needs could also be analyzed in more depth from data collected from employers. A computer would be able to compare student competencies, analyze employers’ needs, and forecast expected demand for knowledge. We could personalize educational plans and develop individual strengths. Data-based communication between the education system and the labor market would bring an excellent student in geometry to a company that requires the knowledge of an excellent student in geometry.
An education system based on data analysis is, of course, theoretical and utopistic. The achievements of the future are not born out of anywhere. There must be real people behind it who are doing the necessary work that will give life to these technological innovations. All the conditions for this development in the 21st Century are given.
If there are already companies that use artificial intelligence to make self-driving cars, diagnose tumors, and predict cryptocurrency market movements, it is only a matter of time before artificially intelligent schools appear.
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Artificial Intelligence for Human Intellect: The potential of AI in Education was originally published in Becoming Human: Artificial Intelligence Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.