7 ways AI will shape the future of education and work

While artificial intelligence (AI) hasn’t yet had a wide-reaching impact on the workforce, AI skills are predicted to remain in increasingly high demand.

With so many industries seeing the potential for AI applications come to fruition, the economy will need highly-trained workers to fill what is likely to be a rising demand for such skills.

1. The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs 2018 forecasts that AI will have applications in almost every sector. Software and IT services saw incredible growth in the past two years, but education, hardware and networking, finance, and manufacturing saw increases as well.…Read More

How AI will shape the university of the future

In light of the fact that only 59 percent of students who begin pursuing a four-year degree at a higher-ed institution graduate within six years, many in the industry are seeking innovative ways to improve student outcomes.

Recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) have led to its adoption across many sectors. The multidisciplinary field presents a wide variety of opportunities for application, giving it great potential for use in higher education. AI encompasses these sub fields:

  • machine learning, used in everything from search engines to recommendation systems
  • natural-language processing, a prominent use case being the language understanding of Amazon’s Alexa
  • computer vision, which is used for tasks such as facial recognition.

We are only beginning to scratch the surface of the many ways this technology could be used to help universities improve the student experience.…Read More

5 technologies that will help colleges meet digital-age students’ expectations

Most students entering college have grown up with digital technology. It touches nearly every aspect of their lives, and they view it as a critical requirement for a quality education. So, it should come as little surprise that students expect advanced technology at the center of nearly every key administrative and educational process.

Indeed, 87 percent of U.S. students consider the technology savviness of colleges to be important when applying for admission, according to a recent Ellucian-Wakefield Research survey, and 97 percent say technologies supporting their education outside the classroom are just as important.

Not only that, modern students have been conditioned as digital consumers to expect a certain level of personalized service from their favorite schools. They want to see that their school has invested time in figuring out their needs, has assembled ideas or programs to address them, and is sending tailored communications that feel as if the institution really knows them.…Read More

What will AI and robotics mean for higher education?

The world around us is getting “smarter.” Artificial intelligence (AI), data, and natural language processing have enabled Alexa, Siri, Pandora, Netflix, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Waze, and other platforms to become part of our lives. Both AI and robotics are projected to have a massive impact on the global economy. While anticipated improvements in GDP and efficiency are positive, some fear that jobs will be lost through automation. What will AI and robotics mean for higher education? Will automation affect colleges and universities?

Chatbots have been used as teaching assistants (TAs)—so effectively that “Jill Watson” was nominated as the best TA her first semester. Admissions offices are using chatbots to handle thousands of calls per day during peak periods. Other uses of AI are being explored, such as intelligent tutoring systems. But these uses are more about question-answer agents than replacing human interaction.

New fields of study are just the beginning
AI and robotics, as areas of study, are catalyzing the creation of new majors, minors, and certificate programs in our colleges and universities. Beyond the study of AI or robotics are the complexities of how our work as professionals changes alongside increasingly capable machines. As our roles change, educational needs will change. The real challenge for higher education is to look beyond the delivery of higher education to how AI, big data, analytics, robotics, and wide-scale collaboration might impact the substance of education. What students learn, what college credentials signify, and how we keep abreast of changes may all shift.…Read More

Going beyond the hype: How AI can be used to make a difference

Reference to artificial intelligence (AI) has become strategic in higher-ed discourse, joining the terms “big data” and “predictive modeling.” When I was introduced to AI in 2013 by a member of our design team, it captivated my imagination. Since then, as our data grew to proportions that were ripe for AI, I’ve become enthralled by its potential to enrich the accuracy and personalization that leads to better outcomes. That does not make me an expert.

If anything, it could make me equal to all out there who have wondered what these terms actually mean, how they matter to education, and where to draw the line between hype and results.

Defining the terms…Read More

6 big-impact technologies on the higher-ed horizon

Analytics technologies, makerspaces, and redesigning learning spaces are just a few of the numerous technology developments and trends outlined in a preview of the forthcoming annual Horizon Report.

The Horizon Report was on shaky ground after the New Media Consortium unexpectedly shut its doors in early 2018, but EDUCAUSE acquired the rights to the report and continued the research.

The annual report outlines issues, technologies, and trends that higher-ed leaders should follow and keep in mind as they outline institutional priorities.…Read More

Artificial intelligence: Enhancing learning or threatening the academy?

A recent Northeastern University/Gallup poll found most Americans optimistic about artificial intelligence’s (AI) impact on their futures while, at the same time, expecting the net effect of AI to be an overall reduction in jobs. If we manage AI effectively, I believe it can be a net benefit to both society and the economy.

The question is: How will higher education manage AI?

Unfortunately, higher education does not have a reputation for managing change effectively. Our experience is much more one of coming late to the party—and not of our own accord. We cannot and should not do this with AI.…Read More

Computers make strides in recognizing speech

For decades, computer scientists have been pursuing artificial intelligence (AI)—but in recent years, rapid progress has been made in machines that can listen, speak, see, reason, and learn, reports the New York Times. The AI technology that has moved furthest into the mainstream is computer understanding of what humans are saying. People increasingly talk to their cell phones to find things, instead of typing. Both Google’s and Microsoft’s search services now respond to voice commands. The number of American doctors using speech software to record and transcribe accounts of patient visits and treatments has more than tripled in the past three years, to 150,000. Meanwhile, translation software being tested by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is fast enough to keep up with some simple conversations. With some troops in Iraq, English is translated to Arabic and Arabic to English. But there is still a long way to go. When a soldier asked a civilian, “What are you transporting in your truck?” the Arabic reply was that the truck was “carrying tomatoes.” But the English translation became “pregnant tomatoes.” The speech software understood “carrying,” but not the context. Yet if far from perfect, speech recognition software is good enough to be useful in more ways all the time. Take call centers: Today, voice software enables many calls to be automated entirely. And more advanced systems can understand even a perplexed, rambling customer well enough to route the caller to someone trained in that product, saving time and frustration for the customer. They can detect anger in a caller’s voice and respond accordingly—usually by routing the call to a manager…

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