About to come to a school near you

Friday, December 1, 2017 - 10:14

About to launch a book on what robotics will bring to our future, with the speed of development around us in the world today, it would appear that education as we know it is being surpassed. Things move so fast the systems can't keep up.

In the past it will be remembered how at school one had to spend a great deal of timed memorising facts and dates of major events. Do we still need to teach and test children on facts when almost every fact is available on Google or other search engines? Should not the emphasis be on how to use these facts in what we do today and by extension, how these can be expanded into the future?

It might sound weird to have philosophy taught at a junior high school level but there is still this major fixation on bible instruction leaving students confused in what to really believe when for example religion can be explained in an understandable and scientifically supportive way, no matter the denomination or type. Let the kids try and define Good and Bad.

Stick to the present education system and one thing which appears inevitable is how a two tiered population will develop. Schools and classes within schools already have the elite classes leaving the rest to get on with it. Where as in the past, if a student couldn't handle the work in one year they would have to repeat, in the Australian school's system they are simply advanced annually to perpetually remain behind.

Where this becomes important is in recognition how in the future jobs will be replaced by Artificial Intelligence or robotics. The best minds on the planet predict at least an 80% job loss within 30 years taken over by AI and if you want proof, the Uber system caught the world by surprise and has only been going for six years. The world's best Goplayer, Ke Jie, predicted as unable to beat a computer in 2015 has already been beaten in 2017. It can be easily seen how this split between workers will follow the education system. What becomes of the 80% plus without jobs and how they will survive is a separate matter and the subject of another of my books.

In fighting a rear guard action to what appears inevitable as robots take over most of the world's jobs, the education system needs to respond accordingly and adjust the grading and qualifications granted. Globally there is this need to focus on having a degree, Masters or Doctorate to get in the door for a job otherwise our perception is that we are not smart. There has to be peer review to get there and what if those invigilators are not as smart as the kids developing unheard of technology? How about training and awarding qualifications to people with skills not yet institutionalised. Xiaoyi, an AI-powered robot in China, recently passed the medical exam for doctors so could theoretically be licensed to practice. Perhaps we need robotic teachers programmed to understanding future requirements, so look out for them in a school near you...