The Promise and Peril of AI in Education

For me, the interesting thing on the AI-in-education front is the trade-off between the peril of losing one’s privacy and autonomy versus the promise of having, for example, an intelligent virtual tutor – one that really understands your individual learning needs.

It’s easy to understand the peril of AI in education given all that’s been written recently about Surveillance Capitalism, the Surveillance State, and the role of the persuasion industry in marketing and politics (e.g. Cambridge Analytica).

But, on the promise side of the equation, a virtual tutor could be a part of a personal AI that could not only tutor you but also represent your interests in the world (e.g. as your virtual lawyer, accountant, doctor, travel agent, career counselor, etc.).

Of course, you’d have to really trust that your Personal AI would really be loyal to you, and not to the company or government agency that created it. I’m don’t know how to do that, and I think most privacy buffs are just focusing on ways to keep your personal data private. They’re not thinking about the advantages of giving people their own Personal AIs.

My guess is that Daphne Koller, the founder of Coursera, might have a lot to say on this front. She’s a leading edge AI researcher, and she’s certainly familiar with the technology of online education given her background with Coursera.

Most of what I’ve seen on this trade off comes from publications that focus on geopolitics and foreign policy.

Here, for example, is an article that discusses China’s dreams for their education system, and why these dreams aren’t for everyone. (I guess they’re saying China’s dreams aren’t for people living in western liberal democracies.

China’s AI Dreams Aren’t for Everyone
The Chinese government has big plans for artificial intelligence. Can it make them a reality in its education system?
by Yi-Ling Liu
August 13, 2019

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