There is no more important issue facing education, or humanity at large, than the fast approaching revolution in Artificial Intelligence or AI. This book is a call to educators everywhere to open their eyes to what is coming. If we do so, then the future will be shaped by us in the interests of humanity as a whole – but if we don’t then it will be imposed by others.
Britain and the US have an excellent education system in their schools and universities – excellent, but tailored to the twentieth century. The factory mass teaching methods of the third revolution era have failed to conquer enduring problems of inequity and unfairness. Students have to make progress at a set rate which demotivates some and bores others. And for all the new technologies, teachers remain weighed down by routine administration and only a narrow range of our aptitudes are encouraged. Will the fourth AI revolution be able to remedy these problems? We have allowed ourselves to believe that teaching can uniquely be done only by the teacher, but might it in fact be better carried out by AI machines? Or at least in concert with teachers?
The evolution of AI, still in its infancy, raises a range of issues of enormous importance as we grapple how we as humans will interact with it. AI will be an altogether new way spreading quality education across the world especially to those hundreds of millions who do not have it. And coming it is – the final part of the book stresses that we have to embrace AI and ensure that we shape it to the best advantage of humanity. If we get it wrong, there may be no second opportunity.
Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham since 2015, is one of Britain’s leading contemporary historian, educationalist, commentator and political author. Here he turns his focus on the future of education.
He was head of Brighton College and of Wellington College, two of Britain’s leading independent schools. He is author of over 40 books on contemporary history, including the inside books on the last four Prime Ministers, politics and education, was the co-founder and first director of the Institute for Contemporary British History, is co-founder of Action for Happiness, honorary historical adviser to 10 Downing Street, chair of the National Comment Awards, a member of the Government’s First World War Culture Committee, and a governor of The Royal Shakespeare Company.