Artificial intelligence is an immensely powerful tool, the effects of which are being felt across a range of industries, sectors, and disciplines.
Its application to challenges ranging from wildlife preservation to deep space exploration proves its versatility, while machine learning courses are being taught to the next generation of researchers so that its full potential can be realized in years to come.
Of course, even education itself is being shaped by the influence of AI, so here is a look at how machine learning is having an impact on human learning.
One of the biggest struggles that teachers face today is being able to effectively manage their time and balance the administrative responsibilities that are unavoidable as part of their roles while also being able to dedicate themselves to the job of actually engaging with students.
AI offers up the power to automate many of the more mundane tasks involved in the job of teaching, empowering educators to focus on the things that got them interested in imparting knowledge to others in the first place.
This means that AI and teachers can exist in symbiosis, with humans handling the ineffable aspects of teaching while being supported by software solutions that make optimal use of the resources available to a given institution.
Eliminating Barriers to Understanding
Knowledge is power, but so many obstacles exist between people living in the more deprived areas of the world and the education that those living in richer countries take for granted.
One such obstacle is actually being able to understand the meaning of a lesson that is being taught. Language is a barrier in its own right, even with widespread connectivity allowing remote access to learning resources in communities that might otherwise have been excluded. Disabilities can also hamper understanding and create problems for those who are unable to see or hear a teacher for any number of reasons.
Translation tech is worth billions already, but the radical shift that is already being perpetrated by AI-based solutions to this global conundrum is eliminating old barriers to understanding in education and beyond.
Personalizing the Learning Process
Even with AI handling admin tasks, it is still unrealistic to expect human teachers to be able to give their undivided attention to each and every student in their care. This means that education is still handled in a fairly generic way, making it possible for people to fall through the cracks at both ends of the development spectrum.
AI is being proposed as the perfect solution to this, allowing individual students to have their own curriculum tailored to their needs according to their abilities, while also allowing for on-the-fly changes to be made in the case that problems arise. This will allow for different teaching strategies to be applied to different members of the same class, without putting too much strain on the teacher’s time.
Ultimately this will mean that a better quality of education is available to everyone, irrespective of their unique strengths and weaknesses.
Streamlining Standardized Testing
Another major drain on teacher’s time comes in the form of marking tests that students have completed in order to demonstrate their progress in a particular subject. Testing remains essential across all levels of education, from the early years to post-graduate study, yet in the past, the most that machines were able to do was tot up the results of multiple-choice exams where only the most basic analytical abilities were required.
Now, we are on the cusp of seeing AI applied to written tests that contain complex concepts expressed in language that itself needs to be scrutinized to assess the comprehension levels and capabilities of students.
Eventually, it seems likely that teachers will be able to harness AI to help them grade hundreds of papers much more efficiently, without losing any of the individual care and attention which is needed to do the best for students.
Making Additional Support Universally Available
Plenty of parents want to give their children extra aid with their studies outside of school hours, but only a minority can afford to pay a private tutor to support students with subjects that might be giving them issues.
Of course, it is not just the cost alone that makes tutoring an exclusive practice; it is also the fact that not all students will respond well to a given tutor’s style.
AI rides to the rescue once more, with applications developed to act as a mentor to people looking to learn at all levels. Once again it is the ability to open up access to as many potential users as possible which makes AI the ideal tool of an egalitarian approach to education.
At the moment, AI solutions are still in the early stages of being created for and applied to teach, but they promise a bright new tomorrow for this essential aspect of human development.
The original version of this article was first published on Converge.