Artificial Intelligence: Increasing Accessibility, Affordability, and Inclusivity

After the then reigning chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov defeated IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue in 1996, he, in an essay for TIME magazine had said that although he could “smell, feel a new kind of intelligence across the table” yet he felt it to be “inefficient, inflexible kind” which gave him the impression that he still had few years left, only to be proved wrong the next year!

Since then Artificial Intelligence has come a long way and surpassed human abilities in various fields. We have a robot citizen in Saudi Arabia. Intelligent machines have automated and made the most complex tasks, simple. Bots are performing our tasks for us. Medicine, Entertainment, Science- AI has changed our lives tremendously. Notably, all the big companies- DeepMind, Magic Pony, Improbable, that promote Artificial Intelligence technologies have had their origin in universities. As a classic example of eastern concept of circularity, now universities are set to be completely transformed by the technology that originated in their campuses.

A study by the research firm Research and Markets states that the artificial intelligence market in the US education sector is projected to grow at a (compound annual growth rate) CAGR of 47.50% over the next four years.

How AI will change the role of educators:

The fear that AI automation will make the role of humans redundant needs to be dismissed because AI is unlikely to replace human stakeholders anytime soon. It will only hone their roles and assist them in enhancing the educational experience. It will complement learning. Teachers will be able to enhance their students’ learning using real-time data assessment. Analytics will be able to identify useful patterns from the bulk of data and provide actionable insights to the educators to better a student’s academic life cycle. It will help teachers break away from the “one size fits all” approach and provide guidance to every student in real-time in the way he/she requires.

How AI will ensure an improved educational experience for learners:

We are already familiar with the potential of educational technology with multitudes of adaptive learning platforms like Coursera, Khan Academy, Udemy. With AI, we are constantly moving towards immersive learning where students will be able to experience the learning. AI provides a possibility of learning that is more personalized, adaptive, engaging, and inclusive. The whole premise of Artificial Intelligence is centered on improving student learning. AI comes with a promise of greater accessibility. It is not only the traditional student at university campuses who are set to be benefitted but continuing education students, students who don’t attend a regular college, who are working, who want to learn in the realm of their homes will be able to enjoy the advantages of AI.

The future of Artificial Intelligence in higher education space:

Imagine an AI learning companion accompanying a student during his entire academic experience, tracking his improvement, making notes of areas where a student needs help, monitoring his health, activities, workload and supporting and guiding the student constantly throughout his academic life cycle.

Imagine one-to-one Intelligent tutoring systems becoming commonplace. Think of “Teachable agents” who are asked to be taught by students about certain topics and are then assessed to assess the student.

With a collaboration of VR and AI, imagine students experiencing the magnificence of various ancient civilizations, being able to visit the bottom of the sea to study marine ecosystem all the while sitting in the classroom, exploring the outer space.

What incorporation of AI means for educational institutions:

For the educational institutions, it will cut the operational costs, yield better results, improve their student satisfaction rates and increase their enrollment and retention rates considerably. For instance, institutions spend millions on student recruitments. They invest large sums of money in internet marketing, on admission counselors and when the prospective students don’t enroll, they have to suffer huge losses. AI for Enrollment cuts these costs, ensures greater student satisfaction and thus better enrollment rates.

AI might come with its own problems but it is not to be looked at as Pandora’s box. In the coming decades, the world is going to be entirely changed by artificial intelligence techniques. The sooner we adopt it, the better adept we will be at it. Don’t you think?

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