Artificial intelligence, cognitive systems and biosocial spaces of education

Ben Williamson, Code Acts in Education, May 20, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article looks at two approaches to AI in education. First, "in the Pearson view, a marketplace of AI applications will both be able to provide detailed real-time data analytics on education and learning, and also lead to far greater levels of achievement." They're working on this now. A lot of what I've talked about in the past - "real-time intelligent analytics conducted up-close within the pedagogic routines" - forms part of this vision.

Second, in the IBM view, educational technology is moving toward a 'cognitive vision' of software that is not preprogrammed with learning tools, but is like instead, for example, "a ‘classroom that will learn you‘ through constant and symbiotic interaction between cognizing human subjects and nonhuman cognitive systems designed according to a model of the human brain." This of course resembles the model of LPSS that i was trying to develop here at NRC. As IBM says, "It’s true that cognitive systems are machines that are inspired by the human brain. But it’s also true that these machines will inspire the human brain, increase our capacity for reason and rewire the ways in which we learn."

There's a third part to the article which looks at 'biosocial spaces': "The brainy space of the educational environment interacts with human actors, getting ‘under the skin’ by becoming encoded in the embodied human learning brain. Human brain functions are augmented, extended and optimized by machine intelligences." I think this is exactly right. This is next-generation educational technology, not previous-generation educational technology. This is overall quite a good article, with numerous links to original sources. 

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