While many students may not be aware of the impact current technologies have on their lives, it is important to note that the future of technology, specifically artificial intelligence, is very promising for learning and education.
NDP Senior Page Cosgrove may not know much about artificial intelligence, but she is surrounded by it every day at home and on campus. “When I think of artificial intelligence, I think of things such as Siri and Amazon Alexa: two devices I have access too. That is about as far as my knowledge goes,” said Cosgrove.
Cosgrove “think[s] AI has impacted [her] life positively since it is a quick way to find things out or do certain tasks. It is easy to use and can take a lot of stress out of time-consuming tasks.”
For high school students, AI is very useful to accomplish assignments in school because of the vast knowledge that it contains and how it can react to almost anything with acceptable responses.
Tools, such as Albert, help to give quick feedback to students who are training to take exams. The tool tells the students what they did wrong and how they can learn from their mistakes.
Cosgrove “think[s] that AI is just getting started but is becoming a huge industry at an extremely fast rate. [She] think[s] the society in the next few years is going to be nearly completely technology-based.”
Because of the fast rate of progression and the great economy, technology will continue to advance more and more, which will then translate to more efficient AI systems.
More efficient AI systems will help to assist educational systems in aspects, such as speedy learning mechanisms and quick feedback.
AI at NDP
Michael Roduin and Justin Bramble solve technological problems and search for methods to benefit the lives of students as the heads of the Information Technology (IT) Department at NDP. Both Roduin and Bramble have a background in working with algorithms and advanced technology, which helps them constantly improve NDP.
According to Roduin, artificial intelligence (AI) is a “simple program that automatically responds in some way.” AI requires an input in order to receive an output and cannot function on its own.
Roduin does not believe that AI has the same conscience ability that humans do. He does not believe that this is possible unless we truly understand how our own conscience operates.
Because of the lack of conscience in AI, the common belief of computers overthrowing humans is not plausible. However, “somebody could come in and program it in a negative manner,” said Bramble. This means that a mischievous programmer could use hacking to code for obstructive purposes.
While AI holds its fearsome possibilities, it also contains numerous positive outcomes, an example being advancements in medicine. Bramble said, “Nanobots will be able to control the brain stem and electrical impulses.” With the introduction of miniscule robots, or nanobots, scientists hope to kill cancer cells, deliver drugs to target tissues and improve vaccines.
“We are using the same materials that cells use to really great effect because we are repurposing those for medicine. We are in the stage where it is totally obvious that it has to work because it already works in nature; it will be surprising if it does not work in the end,” said Shawn Douglas, a researcher at the University of California in San Francisco.
Aside from improvement in medicine, AI is also assisting in research and studies. “Students are going to have to learn, especially in the sciences, how to program,” said Roduin, “because [with] the amount of data that we are able to cover, with AI now, the expectation is that everyone knows how to work with that.”
AI is revolutionary because it will continue to change the course of which every person directs his or her life towards the direction of success in innovation.
IT Desktop Administrator, Michael Roduin’s desktop in room 922 where he solves NDP’s technological problems by forming codes and designing algorithms.
Read more about AI use in extracurriculars here.
Misconceptions of AI
There are many common misconceptions about artificial intelligence (AI) that change the true image of what may occur in the near future.
NDP can avoid these misconceptions, such as having cognition similar to humans, by seeking out the truth and working towards realistic outcomes.
Constance de Saint Laurent, a social and cultural psychologist, said that “a misconception of AI is that it can deal with complex social issues better than human beings would by removing our pesky biases.”
Bias creates a difficult atmosphere to make well-rounded decisions because emotions block from seeing the best possible results.
“One of the major advantages of artificial intelligence is that its decisions are based on facts rather than emotions. Even after our utmost efforts, it is a well-known fact that human decisions are always affected in a negative way by our emotions,” said de Saint Laurent.
Because removing bias is essential for making high-end decisions, the person in charge has the power to make or break the system. AI can only go so far as to meet human expectations.
“AI models can only learn to reproduce existing classifications and they are, thus, at best, only as far as humans have been in the past,” said de Saint Laurent.
Because humans are the ones that code AI, it cannot exceed human potential; it can only go as far as humans allow it to go. NDP can figure out a way to create more efficient education systems to allow for the best learning experiences by coding and searching with AI.
The Issues with AI
Jay Lynch, an education journalist, wrote an article on the negative effects of artificial intelligence on education.
According to Lynch, “Artificial intelligence education (AIEd) researchers can easily be misled into making problematic instructional recommendations, providing visualizations or feedback that hinders learning, and improperly generalizing findings to novel instructional settings” He believes that the data collected by AI is too broad, so it will not play a great overall positive effect on students.
The issue at hand is not necessarily the AI itself, but the programmers in charge. The programmers are just as important as the AI because they manipulate the manner in which it helps teach students.
At NDP, the IT Department and Carmene Carbone ensure that AI is only being used in a studious manner at school by developing programs to limit content that may deter from a student’s learning ability.
“The ubiquity of poor quality content means AIEd technologies often simply recommend the ‘best’ piece of content or identify students at risk of failing an online course early in the semester,” said Lynch.
In order to truly help a student struggling in school, AI needs to create algorithms with more efficient learning methods or tools, instead of just exploiting the issue. There will not be any true progress unless action is taken into accord.
“Emotions need to be an honored part of the learning experience, and if learning experiences and feedback fail to cultivate appropriate student emotional reactions, then learning will be compromised,” said Lynch.
As RAND senior policy researcher Robert Murphy notes in a post for Education Week, “maybe 10 percent, 20 percent, 40 percent of the time [the system] will get it wrong,” making AI in schools an excellent supplemental tool, but no replacement for teachers.
The main issue with AI taking over education is the absence of the personal touch that a standard teacher would give. An efficient learning environment is where the teacher can connect with the student in order to personally help him or her with an issue.
NDP ensures that prior to hiring, the instructors dealing with AI are well-qualified and competent enough to be able to handle such a tool with caution and responsibility.
What Will Happen
In the near future, the education systems all over the world will be largely centered around artificial intelligence (AI) because of the necessity to inform students about the ongoing industrial revolution.
NDP is aware of the rise in AI, and they have incorporated more technology-based tools during lessons for the purpose of the students becoming accustomed to this way of living.
Schools are following suit: Technavio’s “Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector 2018-2022” report predicts a nearly 48 percent growth rate for AI tools over the next three years.
John Butler-Adam, Editor in Chief of the South African Journal of Science, believes that “the implications of education are extensive – both in terms of what universities can contribute to the advancement of AI and its applications and how curricula and learning will need to change.” The education system needs to change in order to adjust to the upcoming preferences in jobs.
“As the global economy moves towards the widespread adoption of AI solutions, competition will grow for employees who have the skills required to implement, manage and work alongside the new technology,” Butler-Adam said. It is imperative for the youth to develop these skills of versatile development in order to remain relevant in the increasing autonomous workplace.
At NDP, many courses are offered for students to develop technological skills that will help them advance in their future careers. These courses include computer science, coding and engineering.
“Workplaces will require adaptable people whose jobs are reimagined, enriched or facilitated by the technology they work alongside,” said Butler-Adam. “To succeed as a member of society, and as an employee, in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, numeracy, literacy and an understanding of how the world operates are all essential.”
According Butler-Adam, many jobs will be replaced by robots, but most will only be redesigned because people will always be necessary to manage and manipulate the resources given to produce services.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the new chapter of human development of robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. This era is followed by revolutions of manufacturing, electricity and energy transformation. As of now, this era is filled with mass innovation and will continue to advance until the next great revolution.
According to Butler-Adam, every generation will need to be more prepared to fit into the different aspects of society in order to thrive in the competitiveness of tomorrow’s autonomous and technological development.
“People must have the skills required to implement, manage and work with the new technology, and with one another. And, not least, to be problem solvers, to be adaptable, and to be able to express themselves in both the written and spoken word – and to make the kinds of ethical and moral decisions that are not ever likely to become successful elements of AI,” said Butler-Adam.
Adoption of artificial intelligence is on the rise: According to research firm Gartner, 37 percent of organizations have now “implemented AI in some form,” and adoption is up 270 percent over the past four years.
NDP has adapted itself into a technology-based school in order to develop students towards becoming experts in AI and release them into the competitive society.
In order to ensure the progression of AI, it is imperative for the education system to focus on teaching students about all the tools they need to know to be able to lead society through the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
How to Get Involved
Artificial intelligence (AI) “is the future of how technology reacts and learns,”Andy Knoll, President of NDP Live, said. “The future of AI is now and now is the learning process.” Recent Pew Research data shows that 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone and 45 percent are online “almost constantly.”
Knoll has many technological responsibilities, such as editing photos and videos, setting up digital announcements and running the school’s news website. He also uses technology to analyze his golf swing for the Boy’s Golf team to improve his performance.
Although it may sound extreme to say that the roam of computers is approaching, Knoll doesn’t buy in: “Artificial intelligence is growing faster than most people think and they don’t even know when artificial intelligence is being used. For example, AI is used from Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Home to even when flying drones.”
The entire world is transitioning into a phase of complete merger with technology. Even the education system is being modified in order to accommodate to the new environment.
“Artificial intelligence will make a difference for education by helping institutions with operation costs and responsiveness. AI can help with a more tailored educational experience for every student,” said Knoll.
AI will help institutions to discover more efficient teaching methods. These new methods to connecting with students will allow for a more enthusiastic environment towards curiosity and learning.
“I have become knowledgeable in this field because of my profound enthusiasm for technology. I enjoy learning about technology because of how important it is to society,” said Knoll.
Having a desire to learn will result in more retention of knowledge. This knowledge is imperative to have in order to prepare for the upcoming surge of autonomous advancements.
“I believe artificial intelligence is rising above the human race. It is constantly scanning and constantly learning more than humans are. I think pretty soon everything we use will be run by AI… because it will continue to learn and will be able to improve itself every second,” said Knoll.
While there is no stopping AI from approaching, people can continue to learn about its significance in order to effectively manage the possible dangers that it entails.
Carmene Carbone is a mathematics, technology and science instructor, head of the Stem/Robotics Team and the Chess Coach. He runs many of the tech-driven activities at NDP, while maintaining his connection with students.
“Being able to train a machine to make a decision is artificial intelligence, and the robotics club does a lot of that,” said Carbone.
The robots are programmed to recognize targets and perform particular actions. During competitions, the robots need to accomplish goals, such as picking up objects and get to certain places in order to win.
“The two highest-paid fields are computer science and math-based, so any student who is interested in computer science, whether they want that exclusively as a career or trying to get background knowledge in whatever field that are in, will be a benefit to them,” said Carbone.
NDP offers an AP computer science class for those who are interested in advancing their AI and coding skills. The course teaches how to program different AI system and “satisfies an entry-level computer science requirement in just about any university,” said Carbone.
“We have a tool where the instructor is teaching a lesson from a recording device, and the student can retract the lesson whenever he or she wants,” said Carbone. This sandwich tool can help to have full access to what the teacher says with in-depth explanations.
Carbone “teach[es] the computer to recognize mistakes instantly, so the teacher does not have to constantly diagnose each individual student one at a time.” This creates a more effective learning environment.
Although this tool is great for having full-access, the personal touch of a standard teacher will be lost. Carbone “tr[ies] to maintain a personal presence to all of [his] students. It needs to be there because it gives a different integrity of importance to the lesson.”
The solution to this issue would be to have a teacher with AI to assist him or her in order to guarantee both the personal touch and quick access to feedback. “The closer the feedback is to the event, the more effective it is,” said Carbone.
In order to retain the upsides of AI, while maintaining the personal touch of teachers, both AI and teachers need to be implemented in today’s education, so students can have the best of both worlds.
What NDP Can Do
Adrien Dubois gave a Ted Talk about the effects of artificial intelligence on education. According to Dubois, “Artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence.” Basically, artificial intelligence is supposed to be a supplement for human activity.
“To enable communication between AI and students, a chip can be placed in a student’s brain able to read signals going from neuron to neuron. The AI would then be able to extrapolate this data to better understand the students in their class,” said Dubois.
Following an algorithm, the AI will then be able to create lesson plans to effectively teach each individual student. The AI will then be able to comprehend how the student is learning and spend the correct amount of time on each different course along for personalized learning like never before.
“Teaching with artificial intelligence will not only be cheaper but more effective since it will actually have unbiased opinions on the world,” said Dubois. It can be very difficult for teachers to follow a lesson plan without exploiting their bias.
Being unbiased is crucial for education because it allows the students to create their own perceptions on life and its meanings. Students need to be informed of the knowledge presented in education, not pushed into the direction of a certain perception.
If NDP can implement AI with a system similar than can be unique with every student, there will be much more progress to the entire community as a whole.
With the rise of innovation in artificial intelligence, NDP has done a great job in embracing the future by ensuring knowledgeable and responsible instructors, but more needs to be done for each individual student in order to achieve the maximum potential that the society is limited to.