Let’s face it, our kids know their education is insufficient and to a certain extent, a waste of time. Of course, we have sung this song for ages, for generations, but it turns out this generation is right. We must stop educating our children like we did industrial workers. Soon, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots could take on all repetitive tasks available. They are better suited to such jobs, anyway. With those tasks executed by the artificial, creative jobs are what remain. We need a plan to train our children to adapt to unpredictable situations, to be creative.
Educators know traditional teaching methods are going by the wayside. Nowadays, educators have the unique problem of providing children with the skills and experiences they need for the modern world in a system that is resistant to change. Parents and politicians, the real power behind public education systems still think teachers must provide knowledge and experience to children. These powerful influences also think every child must have the same opportunities to succeed by receiving the same information and experience. They are half correct. Yes, children should benefit from an educator’s life experience and yes, we must give every child equal opportunity. However, today children know the teacher doesn’t have all the answers and students know in their guts they all have something unique to contribute to society. No child wants to be treated like they must check all the same boxes as every other child. Our children just need guidance to find their way.
Our children need experience
Therefore, a modern educator’s job is to prepare students to live with access to all sources of information. Our young need to learn how to dissect all available information, separate fact from fiction and learn how to integrate the available information into a practical form. What they need is our life experience. Our educators need to help our students navigate that minefield called The Internet. Artificial intelligence can serve as a tool to navigate the Internet intelligently too. I know of a couple AI projects that already help us doing that. Check out Knowhere News for AI-filtered news items to get see what is information curation using artificial intelligence.
The future human economy
In a world filled with expert AI, what we need are people that fill a more human demand. What we should prepare for is a world where human beings are engaged in creative endeavors. What we need to train our designers, artists, engineers, builders, philosophers, social workers, entrepreneurs, and entertainers. Even the future economy, whatever form it may take, will have an offer and demand component. One thing automated devices, no matter the sophistication, cannot reproduce is human demand for human services.
Even if a super-intelligent robot can wait your table at your favorite gourmet restaurant more efficiently than any human being, the clientele may prefer being served by a human waiter-entertainer. Life is not all about efficiency. Humans always seek relationships, human companionship, human experiences. The baseball player that loves the game, will still love to play even though a robotic baseball player could hit the ball harder, farther and more consistently. The painter will still love to paint even though AI today can already produce new creative pieces much faster.
The future of the school system
I believe we need to reinvent our education system. We need to focus on learning skills as mentioned earlier in this article. We’re in the process of shaping the new leaders of our society, just like before. It’s just that the world will be very different for our growing children. They will need to adapt to an exponential number of changes in the world, but if we play our cards right, their prospects at making a living won’t depend on tasks AI can do better than them, anyway. No, our children will be whoever they wish to be in the world. They’ll have the opportunity to follow their passions without fear of survival. Just by being unique individuals, each individual child could become a Mozart at being themselves, enjoyed by thousands. We won’t admire them because they can do something more efficiently than anyone else. AI will always carry that trophy. When our children become adults, we will admire their unique contributions to society because they are faulty, unpredictable yet excellent human beings. They will be surprised and amazed at doing incredible things despite not being controlled by artificial intelligence.
That’s how we humans will keep our place and our purpose in our society once AI can deliver the goods in most vertical better than we can.
We can use online education platforms models like that of the StemAcademy to structure learning. The student can learn new material from a classroom or at home. Whichever method makes more sense. Also, they can learn at their own pace since learning can be individual.