Robot-proof. Higher education in the age of artificial intelligence
Higher education in the age of artificial intelligence
Joseph E. Aoun
The MIT Press (mitpress.mit.edu)
MIT Technology Review
Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Joseph Aoun, Northeastern University and David Rotman, MIT Technology Review
June 4, 2018
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“To ensure that graduates are “robot-proof” in the workplace, institutions of higher learning will have to rebalance their curricula”.
“Consequently, an education for the digital age needs to focus not just on technology and understanding what technology can do but also on what it cannot do – at leasts for now and perhaps never. In other words, a robot-proof education nurtures our unique capacities as human beings. And the most elusive and difficult to define and therefore is trickiest to teach. This is humanity’s unique talent for creativity”.
“However, we need a new model of learning that enables learners to understand the highly technological world around them and that simultaneously allows them to transcend it by nurturing the mental and intellectual qualities that are unique to humans – namely, their capacity for creativity and mental flexibility. We can call this model humanics“.
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“Humanics’ three new literacies – technological, data, and human – enable us to network with both other people and machines. Even more so, they empower us to use the digital world to its fullest potential”.
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“students also need a higher order of four cognitive capacities that will serve them in the digital economy. As we encountered in the previos chapter, these capacities include critical thinking and systems thinking – metaskills that everyone needs to analyze and apply ideas and to understand and command complex systems. Two other cognitive capacities are necessary to help make learners robot-proof. The first is entrepreneurship – the act of creating value in original ways. The second is cultural agility – a capacity that enables students to operate deftly in a global milieu and to appreciate the varying understandings ans values that people from different cultures bring to an issu or situation.”
“Until advanced machines learn to navigate the inifite variety of human belief and behavior, humans will continue to be the masters of our shared intercultural milieu”.
“If the goal of higher education is simply to insert information into a student’s brain, a library card or Internet connection would be the only tool we need. But most people are not autodidacts, and most college students do not master the content of their degree programs simply by reading.
we likewise need to expand our pedagogical toolbox. This involves thematic study across disciplines, project-based learning, and realworld connections.”
“The logical conclusion is that to stay relevant in the AI economy, lifelong learning will be an imperative for all professionals – and not only professionals. By helping everyone develop and maintain valuable skills, lifelong learning is necessary to alleviate social inequality. A learning model oriented on that goal will serve both those who are long on time but short on experience (namely, recent graduates) as well as learners who are short on time but long on experience (namely, seasoned profesionals). Consequently, colleges and universities will see benefits in making lifelong learning a focal point of what they do.”
“Educating undergraduates, preparing graduate students, and creating new knowledge by conducting research are seen as the real, serious endeavors of the university, while lifelong learning is viewed as ancillary.
Undergraduate education, graduate education, and research are indeed critical for core priorities. But the traditional approaches will not work for the millions of adult learners finding themselves compelled to return to higher education to stay ahead of technological change.”
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“Typically, alumni return to their college sporadically to attend sporting events and reunions or to tap into established relationships – in other words, to engage with the past. In contrast, the growth of lifelong learning at universities – and the need for more college-educated individuals to obtain it – can transform graduates’ relationship with their alma mater, making them members of a widespread, active network engaged with the present and the future.”