3 Things People Can Do In The Classroom That Robots Can't

Anya Kamenetz, NPR, Aug 03, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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What bothers me most about this article is that the main premise is demonstrably false. Here is the main premise: "Three things people can do that robots can't: Tell a story. Solve a mystery. Give a hug." Now each of these is offered with a bit of description intended to make the behaviour more human. For example, "give a hug" actually means "empathy, collaboration, communication and leadership skills." But there's a bot that has already done this. Plus, there's already a literal hug bot. There are also numerous storytelling bots, including one that looks at a picture and tells you a story about it, an MIT storytelling companion, and robot journalists. Mystery-solving bots abound, including the diagnosis bots on WebMD, test failure analyzers, this countdown bot, a solver for 2048, Minesweeper solver, and more. The lesson here is, if you're going to make claims about what technology can't do and publish it in a national newsletter, do your research.

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