Edtech News Round Up: Is AI Eroding Reality And Disrupting Higher Ed?

AI edtech news

AI may prove to be a threat to humans, but not in the ways we expected.


The Erosion of Reality

“Superintelligent AI” may not be as big of a threat to today’s world as some might think. In fact, there is a chance that this type of intelligence is not even possible to develop or evolve.

As with population growth, intelligence may follow an S-shaped growth curve comprising of a period of rapid growth that eventually levels off when it hits a saturation point.

But has this exponential growth already happened? It’s possible that human intelligence has already reached its maximum. Because of this, there is a distinct need for a fundamental theory of intelligence in order to understand it in relation to “super intelligent AI”.

However, the real threat isn’t “super intelligent AI”; it’s comparatively “dumb AI”. This category of AI has been created with the purpose of manipulating people’s perception of information, facts, and even reality.

For example, AI can mimic human voices, writing styles, and several other types of communication attributes. Some machines even have the ability to recreate people in still and live-action videos, making them capable of depicting events that never occurred.

These types of systems are likely to progress. This leaves an extraordinary amount of potential to mislead people or to manipulate how people to consume, think or act. With these systems progressing it is possible that people will have a more distant relationship with reality.

Learning Mindfulness Centered on Kindness to Oneself and Others

Mindfulness has become a key part of social and emotional learning. To embrace mindfulness in the classroom Austin Independent School District in Texas has created a specialized position for a mindfulness expert.

John Butler has 14 years’ experience teaching school-based mindfulness courses.

His definition of mindfulness is rooted in being aware of the present moment and to treat oneself and others with kindness. Butler teaches students that everyone has negative thoughts but these thoughts do not define them.

The emphasis on kindness springs from Butler’s observation of patterns and mindsets in students, where many may feel they’re not smart enough and give up or get upset. This is where kindness becomes a key player in mindfulness.

Students who have experienced mindfulness programs have offered positive feedback in relation to social situations such as conflict-resolution, and decision making.

Academically, mindfulness helps students deal with stress allowing them to better organize their thoughts by focusing on one thing at a time.

Is AI Disrupting Higher Education?

Advances in AI technology could increase production while using fewer resources.

Employer and education stakeholders are beginning to take notice of this trend but are wondering whether students today will be workforce ready in the future.

This is more specifically a concern for higher education executives. In 2018, 22 percent of US citizens that left college with a bachelor’s degree said their education prepared them to use AI in their jobs.

However, automation may not be as threatening as we imagine. Research suggests that only 9 percent of jobs on average are automatable.

There are two opposing views on what will happen as businesses incorporate AI. Some believe that a large number of jobs will become obsolete as automation replaces humans. However, others think that it will be incorporated slowly and it won’t have that much as a catastrophic effect.

In 2016, a survey by ACT showed that employers felt academic achievement does not necessarily equate to career readiness. The survey also revealed that career readiness is more about individual qualities,  including resilience, honesty, open-mindedness, critical thinking skills, and communication.

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