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Should robots replace teachers? AI and the future of education

Neil Selwyn of Monash University, Australia will visit the program Future Technology, Culture and Learning for a discussion of digitalization in education.

2019.02.08 | Lise Wendelboe

Date Thu 09 May
Time 10:00 12:00
Location Room J-109, DPU, Aarhus University, Emdrupvej 54, 2400 Copenhagen NV. (Virtual meeting: vmeet.au.dk, room 1001)

The digital automation of teaching is set to be one of the defining educational challenges of the next 20 years. While the deployment of human-looking robots in classrooms remains more of a publicity stunt than serious educational trend, many other forms of digital automation are being implemented across schools and universities around the world. Teachers are not being replaced by physical robots per se, but are increasingly surrounded by software, apps, platforms and other forms of artificial intelligence designed to carry out pedagogical tasks.

In this talk, Neil Selwyn explores some of the emerging trends in the AI-driven automation of teaching. Rather than being seduced by the speculative hype that tends to surround discussions of ‘AIEd’, Neil argues that we need to concentrate on the social order that is being built around these technologies. As such, the main issues that need to be considered are not matters of engineering and design – that is, how to best develop software, calibrate algorithms or enhance the ‘user experience’. Far more significant are the social, political, economic and cultural issues that surround these technologies.

Against this background, Neil will use the talk to consider some important issues that tend to be overlooked in discussions of AI and education – not least, a set of difficult questions over fairness, (dis)empowerment and what sort of education futures we feel are most appropriate. As Neil concludes, our discussions of AIEd need not descend to arguing whether AI technologies are somehow ‘better’ or not than humans. Instead, we need to talk about the ways in which AI technology is entwined with the politics of determining what education is, and what sort of education we want for our future societies.

Coffee & light refreshments provided.

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