The fascinating and, in some ways scary, world of AI

I’m sure all present at Sir Anthony Seldon’s talk on how AI is shaping the future, thoroughly enjoyed what he had to say. I hadn’t really given much thought to how AI is already at work in our lives and, even more interesting, are the prospects for the future with AI technology.  Perhaps our school capsule will be opened by robots rather than humans in 50 years time?  At the start of the talk, it was obvious we were all a little rusty – who knows what quantum computing is….? Deathly silence. HOWEVER, happily we all left the theatre more educated than when we went in.

From some fairly easy to grasp aspects like what AI really is in a nutshell to more complex things like how Moore’s Law will completely change education in the space of just 10 years: I learnt a lot. I wanted to use this blog to share some of the really interesting stuff and, if you did watch the talk, (looking back the phrase ‘watch the talk’ is quite ironic!)  don’t leave yet, as I have also put in some other interesting things about AI.

Firstly, I would like to tell you about what the 4 industrial revolutions are. So, in short, each revolution is a massive change to society, e.g.: The first revolution was roughly 2 million years ago when humans first started to transfer important information.  At the time it consisted of things like how to make a fire and everything else that cavemen did all day. Moving on to the second revolution: when humans started to live collectively and stopped moving and settled in one place; this led to humans working together to build cities, castles and, in the case of the ancient Egyptians, huge pyramids. The next revolution was in the good old reign of King Henry VIII.

This revolution brought printing and, with it, education to the masses.  In terms of education, we are still in this revolution. However the 4th Revolution is only in its infancy, but will be the one to make the others seem like child’s play, this (drum roll please) is the rise of AI. Many of the aspects of AI that will impact on education are similar to ideas we encountered in last term’s ‘Future Day’.  For example, teachers will facilitate learning, not lead it. Learning could take place anywhere, so schools and universities will either not exist or look completely different! I could drone on forever about AI, but don’t worry …if you are truly interested you can find some links below about the exciting, yet terrifying, implications.

Finally I would like to share some insane facts that will change your idea about how revolutionary AI truly is.

  1. Did you know experts predict that, in 2030, AI will contribute 15.7 trillion dollars to the world economy?
  2. Sometimes when you get an advert that is related to something you’ve recently purchased, it can predict what you may want to buy next (Spooky!).
  3. Pet bots will become incredibly ‘real’ and people will be able to make emotional connections with them (as an added bonus, there will be no pooper scooper needed!). In fact, by 2050 only the super wealthy will be able to afford real pets. Makes me want to give my cat an extra hug!
  4. AI can repair itself! That is quite frightening!
  5. Finally, on a less dramatic note, AI is not even close to being as smart as any humans and we will stay in the lead till it is expected to get a tad awkward, in around 2060, when we will not be the smartest, most advanced beings around. I hope that, by the time this happens, Siri’s grandchildren might have better hearing!!

Extra reading:

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/09/anthony-seldon-why-ai-is-set-to-revolutionise-teaching/ – this spectator article sums up some of Sir Anthony’s ideas that we learnt about in our talk

https://www.amazon.com/Fourth-Education-Revolution-Intelligence-Infantilise/dp/190868495X – if you require further reading: this could be the book for you. Brace yourself – I think it may require some serious concentration, but it also looks quite fascinating.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2017/04/25/the-complete-beginners-guide-to-artificial-intelligence/#3296dbb94a83

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJeNghZXtMo – 6 minutes summing up AI