AI and education

What are the educational components of preparing future generations properly for the widespread use and implementation of AI? Are we on the right path considering the way kids are currently taught or prepared? Are our current education systems actually preparing for the right skills?

Current situation

It’s hard to discuss the “common” practices of how kids are currently prepared for their future when there are so many differences depending on the country, city, or even specific institution. There are some best or worst examples, but there is not a unified strategy being implemented around the world that could be seen as a way of educating future generations.

AI has started changing the way we teach, but the way we teach has not changed to better equip us for AI. Currently there are many new systems and innovations in place which utilize AI to provide better and more personalised learning experiences. These include digital lessons and tests that personalise your learning path based on your current knowledge, tutoring empowered by AI-chatbots, help for children with special needs or learning disabilities through AI personal assistants, as well as the fact that such AI learning tools and digital classes can be accessed 24/7 and create a more relaxed, less competitive and stressful environment.

As technology advances, there are going to be more and more innovations designed to help young kids and students with their learning experience, but we also need to be mindful of preparing our kids for a world in which AI is a normal part of everyday life and is used in every sector and industry.

Who is responsible?

This topic of AI education doesn’t only concern schools or universities. Adapting well and learning to take advantage of such big technological changes such as AI is a complex topic which needs to be dealt with on multiple fronts. It’s a job for families, for schools, universities and other educational institutions, but also for companies and organisations in which young people start their professional careers.

As simple tasks become automated and more complex tasks which are suitable for computer intelligence get optimized by AI and other new technologies, it’s important to consider what role the relationship between humans and technology will have in the future. How can we best prepare to utilize advanced technology well and improve our daily lives, while retaining the skills that are crucial for human interaction and the optimal functioning of both interpersonal relations and business processes.

To do this we need to think about what AI can and will replace – and which aspects of human behavior it may never replicate.

Crucial skills

With the optimization of many simple and complicated tasks, we need to learn how to prioritize well and focus on important things. The human brain is a very complex system capable of planning, executing, evaluating, feeling and interacting with everything in the world around us. Even though AI is capable of performing some tasks better than us, such as complex math and technology problems and algorithms, it doesn’t have the capacity to think like humans, be creative, express and understand complex emotions and feel empathy.

AI also doesn’t have the ability to take information and data and turn it into something logical and comprehensible. It can gather and analyse a lot of data based on certain criteria, but our ability to make sense out of data and build a story around it is another crucial skill we have as humans, and which will also be a core competence required of us in the future. This is why we need to focus on soft skills and build them up even more. We should use AI to help us, and not be scared of it replacing us, but rather interact and work together. The optimal future lies in the collaboration between humans and technology. So how does this reflect the education systems needed to raise young adults who are prepared and excited about such a future? Children should be taught how to use complex technologies responsibly and to their advantage, but also how to build leadership and interpersonal skills, work in teams and solve problems together with the collective intelligence they have.

Most innovations didn’t come from a machine which realised how to optimize a certain process or system, they came from teams of people working together and allowing creativity and ideas to emerge, building them together into something great. We should not forget the importance of human interaction and the effect it has on us, as well as our mental and emotional health. We are made to live with others, and our ability to interact and form connections has always been a vital part of our skillset, but is gaining even more in importance now.

Building the future

Human interaction is a key aspect of our lives, and with AI making certain jobs or processes more efficient – but also depersonalised – we need to nourish these skills and find ways to balance technological advancement with human care and interaction. Operational and production activities may be improved or “taken over” by AI, but humans are capable of many highly complex tasks involving higher levels of intelligence, be it emotional, artistic or cognitive, and which can’t be replicated by AI. We need to cherish what technology has brought us, but also realize that there are shifts in the type of intelligence that is needed, and apply this knowledge to the adaptation of current educational systems and organisational cultures.

AI can help us greatly in everyday life, improving some systems that make our lives easier and more efficient. This is why we need to make sure to focus on the specific qualities that make us stand out, and nourish the skills that make us human – our emotions, vision, complex thinking and the ability to connect and interact with others.