In the future it is possible we will no longer be educated by human beings. As technology progresses, computers will surpass our capabilities of instruction and logical analysis, thereby offering a sentience possibly beyond our control; science estimates within 100 years this will occur. This means that computers, not humans, could be those in the best position to teach.
This isn’t as scary as it seems; in fact, it has already begun. Admittedly, there are growing pains such as a lack of confidence in credibility, deliverance of material and information, as well as the implementation of that education in real world terms. Because it’s possible, are the methods currently available marketable, much less desirable in terms of consequence to those participating in education via technology? Should we instead steer towards a different direction, utilizing technology based education as merely a supplementary device in conjunction with traditional means of intellectual development until a better system is created that does translate into real-world, quantifiable contributions?
This is the step currently being hurdled by contemporary start-ups. Forget the online certifications of the past few years; now the boundaries are being pushed past a simple course with a potentially meaningless sheet of paper in the mail at the end, to reproducible results of teaching and tutoring online via programs and algorithms over professors and curricula. What’s more, this new style is being implemented physically in our nation.
Aside from the simple view that this might be a better approach to education – a view which will be proven or disproven in the near future – we should attempt to understand why. There are many variables that led to this outcome. Over the last 50 years the system that prepared the leaders of tomorrow has changed drastically. Globalization occurred and with it the competition pool grew immensely. The smartest people in our country were no longer good enough – you had to rise to the cream of the crop against other nations as well. As a consequence of this, teachers began to be less appreciated here in the States as indicated by their drop in wages. Our educators were also less appreciated due to the lack of resources as a result of spending cuts. No Child Left Behind was a haymaker of a blow on the face our educational system which encouraged cheating, not on the part of children but by those in the highest positions of our public grade school education system. Merit was exposed as facetious in the overall system of knowledge-sharing by highlighting exactly how money plays a part in precisely the amount of education one receives. The internet has facilitated this decline. It isn’t just in America that we see these trends, but also around the world. Now what we will see is a new breed of educator – one who is more of a facilitator of the learning process behind technology who has been polished through a myriad of methodology and institutionalism and is well versed in the newest online resources, allowing the new frontier of knowledge to be most efficiently imparted in accordance to every individual’s specific growth needs.
It is still possible for a select few to achieve maximum results in our current system with minimal monetary resources. But what the future seems to promise is a leveling of this present day playing field in terms of who has access to education, how much education they have access to and when. From an optimistic point of view, it is possible that not only does knowledge and information become free as well as accessible for all, but also it may be required as a standardized tool to improve our society as a whole. This may make pessimists believe in education once again.