Why technology cannot replace teachers – The age of humanity. Towards the fifth industrial revolution is the book’s title by the popularizer, trainer and lecturer Marc Vidal. In it, he offers the keys to some of the changes and innovations that, in his opinion, will be experienced in the coming years and how they will affect day-to-day life. In this interview, he exposes those that will affect the educational field, analyzing the role of robots in the role of teacher and the part of emotional education to avoid this possible substitution.
Question: What will the world of the future look like?
Answer: If you are referring to the not-too-distant future, it will be a place of learning, of assimilating how technology is going to change all the social contracts that surround us, be they cultural, political, economic and educational, of course. . If you are referring to the distant future, it is challenging to imagine it because I am sure that some technology that we still do not know will modify any image that we may now have. ‘Blade Runner’ happened in an imaginary November 2019, that is, now. Their replicants came out but not mobile phones or the Internet.
Q: According to your book, we are on the cusp of the fifth industrial revolution. What education do we need now?
A: The one that understands that what needs to be stimulated and promoted is everything that a robot cannot do and, by implication, not train anyone in those aspects that, no matter how hard we try, we will never do better than a robot. The problem is that we are not educating our students about it.
That educational system based on memorizing data to perform repetitive exercises will not solve the matter. In 2017, in the entrance test to the best university in Japan, a robot already obtained a better grade than 80 per cent of the students. Meanwhile, we continue to educate our children by memorizing facts, doing repetitive exercises, asking them to specialize in one thing, and following orders while preparing for jobs that are about to disappear. No one can compete with a computer, an expert or an artificial intelligence system.
The delinquent is not technology; the problem is us, who have been preparing for thousands of years to be a species capable of managing data, absolute memorization and reading comprehension. But a machine has arrived that does those millions of times better than we do.
Q: Who would be in charge of meeting the educational needs posed by the new panorama?
A: All. The future will be permeable and very liquid. As we understand it, the school will change sooner than we think. It is about using technology, but it also serves to understand it. How that is led is the key.
“In 2017, in the entrance test to the best university in Japan, a robot already obtained a better grade than 80 per cent of the students.”
Q: What role will the new technologies have in the education of the future?
A: By 2020, all publicly funded scientific articles published in Europe could be freely accessible under a reform mandated by the European Union, allowing teachers and students to use and collaborate with them. In 2022 the atmosphere of the Earth or that of the Moon will see what a landscape looks like in Soria thanks to immersive technology. Very soon, children will put on virtual reality glasses and see what they study.
In 2025, virtual reality and augmented reality will stimulate remote learning, and as a result, classrooms will begin to disappear. Not the relationship between students and teachers or the space where educational activities carried out, but the concept of ‘classroom’ will disappear. In 2026 we will have a world with global and absolute Internet access. We will live in the Internet of Everything, and many institutions will continue to make their content available to humanity. Knowledge will not have any barrier and will shared using sensitive technology. That will be the education of the future—a place without limits.
“The school as we understand it is going to change sooner than we think.”
Q: You affirm that machines will have an important role. Will they also replace the figure of the teacher?
A: In aspects where the software or a robot can do better than a person, yes. Indeed not in others of an emotional, creative or critical type. In 2030 brain imaging will revolutionize our teaching. Brain imaging will allow us to fine-tune education by testing which teaching modes work best for each student. This will be possible because the images will let us see how various forms of teaching alter the brain.
In 2031 education will only personalized. Improved study customization will begin. Students will spend a lot of time involving individual teachers, and it will be run as individual tutorials in a virtual but tremendously natural way in terms of sensory perception. In that same year, our teachers will be essentially pure Artificial Intelligence. They will be cognitive intelligence.
Computer scientist Eric Cooke says that in the next 15 years, intelligent machines will essentially replace human masters in terms of efficiency, capability, and effectiveness. In this way, teachers will have to develop emotional skills so that they are their principal value—emotions and sensitivity above technical knowledge.
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