For a Human-Centered AI

The future of the school is for everyone

September 18, 2018

Another school year has just begun, and it seems like a good time to wonder about how the school will evolve in the future. Can technology really help us learn more and better? Which digital tools will we use to study?

“When I grow up I will be a doctor, but a robotic doctor”. This is what a student told the ICT teacher Vassilios Spachos, who in the highly advanced smart city of Trikala, in Greece, directs the first computer lab ina Greek public school. For some, the Spachos student’s answer could sound almost visionary, but in reality, it is the symptom of a great change in progress: kids today are ready for the future, and they know that there are new opportunities ready to be caught on the horizon.

Opportunities that should find fertile ground in the world of education: in fact, the school must jump ahead and provide students with the most appropriate tools to face the future and all the challenges related to it.

Quality education, for everyone

In 2015, UNESCO adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an action program for the reduction of poverty and the spread of equality and equal opportunities throughout the world, which includes a list of goals to be achieved in the next decade. Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals one, in particular, is dedicated to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. To achieve this goal, the UNESCO report predicts that in the coming years we will need more teachers, and much more prepared.

It is not difficult, therefore, to understand the attractiveness that the new systems of robotics and artificial intelligence can have in this sector: they could provide support to human teachers in preparing lessons, identifying which subjects are most suitable for a complete education, reach schools in the most remote communities, but also improve the experience of students with disabilities thanks to more appropriate tools.

Even if someone still finds the idea of teaching robots scary, many are pointing out that these tools could be extremely useful for a more affordable education that is accessible all over the world. Perhaps instead of “stealing” the work of our kids, these robots will be able to prepare them for careers that today we struggle to imagine.

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