AI is a hot topic these days. Questions are being raised about whether it is a positive advancement or will be used for nefarious means. Are we moving too fast without the proper boundaries in place, or is this the next step in our technological advancement? I would like to add one more worry to the list. What if we need to rethink AI because it is more human than us?
Yesterday, I watched a program about AI being used in the classroom. The journalist was interviewing a teacher and a sixth-grade student about a tutoring program using AI. The student said, “What I like the most about this program is it responds positively.” A positive response means to me that the student is being encouraged to feel comfortable trying again instead of experiencing derision or some other form of negativity. The interviewer repeated what she said as if he was surprised by her response. Although her response saddened me it did not surprise me. I wanted the interviewer’s next question to be, “Your teachers don’t respond positively?”
I was a teacher for 40 years and during that time I knew that my subject matter was not as important as the life skills and self-worth I did my best to impart to my students. Teaching is training and it is done best in a healthy environment where students trust the teachers to lift them up and not tear them down. They must be treated with respect and show that respect to others. Most of all they shouldn’t be afraid to fail because that is when the most learning occurs.
I was not a perfect teacher, but this little girl’s comment hit me hard. Education is the key to so many things, and our system is broken in many ways including the fact that a piece of technology can potentially show more kindness than a human can.