How to Empower Education with Artificial Intelligence | Luca Longo | TEDxDublinInstituteofTechnology


Translator: Federico MINELLE
Reviewer: Michele Gianella “Can machines think?” “Is it really useful to let them think?” These are two questions that I posed
at the end of a previous talk of mine. The first question is related – it has been proposed
by Alan Turing in 1950, and it is related
to artificial intelligence. This is what we call
“strong artificial intelligence.” If I ask you to define
what artificial intelligence is, you probably would answer
with one word: robot. And this is strictly connected
to the notion of artificial intelligence because a robot is an intelligent agent
that needs to have certain features: natural language processing,
machine learning, automatic reasoning, knowledge representation,
planning and perception. But unfortunately, we are far away
from achieving this. The second question, “Is it really useful
to let machine think?” is connected to the ethics
of artificial intelligence. Professor Stephen Hawking says, “Artificial intelligence is going to be, probably,
the worst thing that happens to humanity, even worse than nuclear weapons
and climate change.” Elon Musk said, “With artificial intelligence,
we are summoning the demon.” Do not panic! There is another definition
of artificial intelligence, which is narrow artificial intelligence, also known as weak
artificial intelligence. This is the state of the art
of artificial intelligence: we are good at narrow tasks. And it’s with this definition
of artificial intelligence that I would like to answer a question: how can we empower education
with narrow artificial intelligence? When I was a kid, I went to a creche,
like probably most of you. I was having fun, experiencing joy. I was self-exploring things. I had the chance
to play with my curiosity. That was a dream. At the age of nine,
my mom bought a computer. It was an Intel 286 processor – yeah, the five-inch
floppy disk, an old one – but she didn’t know what a computer was. I taught myself how to code,
how to write software. I was playing with my creativity, nurturing my passion, developing
my passion, nurturing my talent. That was a dream. Then I moved to secondary school. I didn’t want to wake up. I wanted to stay in bed all the time. So, my mom came to the room,
“Luca, wake up.” “Ah, I have fever.” “You don’t have fever.” So she gave me a thermometer. She went to the kitchen,
preparing breakfast. Beside my bed, I had a little lamp. I placed the thermometer
on top of the lamp: straight away – 38. She came back, “Oh, you have fever.” So sometimes, I managed to stay in bed. I was cheating. But why? Why? Fifty percent of students
or learners are disengaged in our current educational system. There is a gap between the way we teach
and the way we learn, the way our brain actually learns. Imagine an x-line: teaching, and imagine the mental workload
imposed on learners from teachers. And then imagine a y-line: learning. The relationship between
teaching and learning follows a U-shaped distribution. There are some students
who are bored in class. Other students perceive
instructional material adverse, complex, so their learning is minimized. And there is a group of students
who enjoy the class and experience optimal learning. That means the current educational system,
based on standardization, is not really working. One-fits-all solution
doesn’t work anymore. We need to have personalization. Then, I didn’t want to continue
my studies after the high school. I went to a software house. I was playing with what I like. I was writing software eight hours a day. I was enjoying, but there
was something missing: I was not learning anymore. So, at some stage, I decided
to go back to college. Why was college good for me? I had the freedom of choice. So, what about education today? Do we really need a reformation? No, we need a transformation. So, why don’t we use what we are good at
in narrow artificial intelligence to actually empower education? I want to answer this with a hype cycle. On the x-line, we have the time line, the maturity of these narrow tasks from artificial intelligence,
our technologies, and on the y-line, we have
the visibility of these technologies and the expectation we put on them. This is not a scientific cycle in nature. It’s my understanding,
interpretation of the present and my vision for the future. So, here we have artificial intelligence which is a trigger
of innovation for education. We have optimization
and distributed computing. This is what we call, nowadays,
cloud computing: free textbooks, online free content. We can play with software online
and just pay a small amount of fees. Machine learning? A buzzword, omnipresent. Machine learning is a subfield
of artificial intelligence. Giving a set of data,
we can induce a model, and we can use this model for prediction
and informed decision-making. We go up to the hype, we reach the peak: data visualization. We have many visualization techniques
online that cluster data, and these are informed by data mining. Data mining is basically a technique
borrowed from artificial intelligence that mines data from different sources
and puts them together, and we are becoming good at data mining. We are at the peak
of inflated expectations. Then we go in the future,
and we will enter another period: a period of disillusionment. Here, we realize that things that we thought
can be good for empowering education are not really feasible. For example, virtual assistant,
chat-bots, automated grading – these technologies are nowadays
difficult to be implemented because of the limitations
of artificial intelligence at tasks like natural language processing. Then we will enter another period
in which we are enlightened: the slope of enlightenment. And here, we have technologies
such as virtual and augmented reality. Virtual reality is that technology
that allows us to interact with an artificial system
and artificial context, with a headset. Augmented reality is another technology
from artificial intelligence that allows us to explore real world
with augmented objects, that can actually enhance our learning. We go up to the curve,
and we have mobile learning. We can learn from our devices when we want, where we want, how we want. And we will be able to create
intelligent machines that will deliver content
relevant to our devices, to our level of understanding of a topic. And then we will have
another period of time in which we finally focus on the narrow task
of artificial intelligence that can actually empower education, and we will reach a period
of the plateau of productivity. Here, we have learning analytics, metrics related to how we behave
during problem-solving, how we perceive
the underlining learning task, how we react to this task
and metrics about the context. With these metrics, we will be able
to create intelligent tutors – so, pieces of software that, using these metrics,
can deliver relevant content to us according to our understanding
of the topic, our expertise, our level. And finally, we will have gamification. Gamification is a technique that applies game principles
to non-game contexts. And we will be able to create
intelligent machines, intelligent agents, that actually get the content
from different sources and turn them into a game. I would like you to focus
on the last part of the hype cycle: the slope of enlightenment
and the plateau of productivity. With virtual and augmented reality,
we can actually self-explore things, we can play with
our curiosity, creativity. With intelligent mobile learning,
we have the freedom of choice: we can learn what we want
to learn, how, where, and we can actually follow our passion. With learning analytics
and intelligent tutors, we can actually personalize content
to each single learner. And eventually,
with intelligent gamification, we can nurture our talent
and experience joy. So, with artificial intelligence, we can really unlock
the power and the potential from each single learner. I want to go back to the origins. I want to dream again. Thanks. (Applause)

3 thoughts on “How to Empower Education with Artificial Intelligence | Luca Longo | TEDxDublinInstituteofTechnology”

  1. This is a very interesting presentation, AI and Education is a great field to study. Congratulation Dr. Luca Longo, well presented all concepts and very relevant and important information. Thanks

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