When AI Computers Get Smart: What's the purpose of teaching and learning?

Computers are getting more powerful, smarter, and already host most of
the world's knowledge.

They'll be a transition phase in this century where some mental tasks will be delegated to the AI computer. Some of the mental skills that we're taught may no longer be required in a couple of decades.

This has significant implications for the future role of teaching and
learning. As AI takes on more of our intellectual tasks we also have to
ask what will be the purpose of teaching and learning? How's that for a big question? :-)

Just for the sceptics, here's some food for thought:

"we won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress"


Article about the Singularity University:


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Hi Adam

Let me recommend Wallach and Colins, Moral Machines and PW Singer's Wired for War

Basically, the high tech research universities are adding philosophers to their team of tech savvy researchers because these "fast adders" (computers with intelligence) are making decisions based on heuristics, in other words decisions based on values in all areas from health to warfare. The philosophical/societal issues are now entering the realm of machine intelligence. So, we have issues which are far greater than the "role and purpose" of teaching/education but real questions as to human/machine interface.

May I also recommend Rudy Rucker's The Ware Tetrology where computers have transcended Asimov's rules of robotics (which are arguably false in any case). We are not talking "future" but present as one realizes when one considers the robots at work in Iraq.

Education is a lagging indicator. Thus the question you ask is not a future question. The real statement is "What IS the purpose...." TODAY
Hi Tom

It's good to see you're aware of the impending developments and where we are right now. So let's take your question "what is the purpose [of education] today?". What should we be doing in education now?

I get the feeling that most educational establishments still don't get it. Most education is still geared up for business as usual; with very little foresight of what this century means.
hi adam

may I recommend Neal Stephenson's Sci/Fi novel, The Diamond Age, first copyright in 1995. Anticipates the netbook or iPad on steroids and cloud computing amongst other technologies and other interesting prescient ideas.Of course we are looking at it from the "future" and not considering those who weren't quite so clever in their anticipation. Future thinking is a risky business.

Regarding what should be the purpose, one must realize that the education establishment is not monolithic nor does it have complete control on decisions of what its purpose is or what its content should be. A lot is not in education's control and therein lies a major problem.


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