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

The future of education…100 years ago

The intrepid Maria Popova–BTW, if you’re not subscribing to her newsletter or following her on Twitter, you should–points to a really interesting item in How to Be a Retronaut, says Dan Pink, author of four bestselling books about the changing world of work. The Retronaut blog, which collects artifacts from the past to help us understand the present, unearthed an article from Ladies Home Journal circa. 1900, headlined, “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years.” Its author, one John Elfreth Watkins, Jr., lays out his predictions for the American life in the early 21st century…

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