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Why Education Needs Augmented—Not Artificial—Intelligence

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Why Education Needs Augmented—Not Artificial—Intelligence

Can a machine teach? If so, where does this leave teachers?

Education technology has a public relations problem. In a space where words carry wide currency, our choice of language matters.

That’s why I’m troubled by Artificial Intelligence (AI). At a time when educators need assurances that digital innovations will work for them, the fundamental premise of this technology may imply just the opposite.

The term evokes the awkward connotation of machines displacing human capabilities. This discomfort has been capitalized upon—perhaps to an exaggerated extent—in movies like Terminator and 2001: Space Odyssey. But the fear creeped into public consciousness through a series of gaming feats. In 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue defeated the reigning world chess champion, Garry Kasparov. Recent cognitive triumphs in Jeopardy and Go have emphatically answered the question of whether machines can “think.”

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