The Future of Education is beginning to take Shape
Imagine getting up every morning and putting on a pair of smart glasses, or smart contacts, to begin your day. This simple act is what will link you to your digital twin, a twin formed around all the information you physically and mentally consume daily.
While there are many kinds of digital twins, this one is a twin of all the information you absorb visually through your eyes and audiologically through your ears. With a few added sensors, it will record everything you touch, taste, smell, and feel in and around your body.
After all, education is not singularly about what academia says is important. It’s about the hundreds of millions of pieces of minutia needed to turn you into the person you most want to become. And that’s where your digital twin comes into play.
Imagine having perfect recall of everything you read, heard, smelled, or experienced. Imagine having a perfect recall of the third chapter of the management book you read two years ago. Imagine having perfect recall of the Ted Talk that inspired you. This podcast challenged your assumptions, and the audiobook helped you crystalize your thinking or who said what at the public forum you attended.
The digital twins I’m referring to are living, breathing replicas of your brain that will turbocharge your capabilities in ways we can’t even imagine yet. You will instantly be able to remember where you left your car keys, your presentation material for your next meeting, or that famous quote you hoped would make your argument more convincing. You will instantly be able to remember formulas you only glanced at in last year’s physics class, the instruction sheet for assembling your robot that somehow got lost, or that tiny detail captured by your surveillance drone during the last snowstorm.
Finding the perfect interface is naturally the place where the rubber meets the road. Having access to tons of data is certainly not helpful. But having access to the exact right piece of information at the moment, you need it will be incredibly valuable.
I’m not even sure what you call a user interface that takes place inside your mind, but making this interaction with our digital twin as precise, seamless, and instantaneous as possible will be the secret to making this work.
AI Engineers Hold the Key
This is where artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play and why I believe AI engineers hold the key to future education.
For most people, AI is the magical genie in some invisible box that is redefining a new state of normal on a daily basis. AI is not something that we can touch, feel, taste, swallow, or toss back and forth like a ball. Not yet, anyway. But soon, it will become part of each of these activities. The change will be so gradual it will be hard to notice until one day, and we won’t know how to live without it.
Now, if we add augmented reality (AR) to the AI, we begin to see where the true magic happens.
Adding AR to AI
The next generation of AR smart glasses will not be able to create fully immersive virtual worlds like virtual reality (VR) headsets can. Instead, they will have similar functionality to the heads-up displays found in fighter jets and luxury cars, providing a transparent overlay of information. They will be equipped with mini-microphones and speakers for a more integrated experience.
Information will be presented at the user’s eye and ear level, which may be distracting for some, but will not block out the real world as VR does. For now, AR and VR glasses will be separate due to VR’s need for more powerful computing and larger devices. However, in the future, AR and VR technology will likely be combined into a single, stylish device that allows users to switch between the two seamlessly.
AR smart glasses will offer a wide range of apps, such as cameras, social media, music, texting, newsfeeds, online shopping, audio and visual streaming, recording, and phone calls. These features will be enabled by self-contained wireless connectivity. However, video calls may prove challenging due to the device’s proximity to the user’s face.
These glasses will act as wearable minicomputers, with speakers or earbuds for audio. As we become more familiar with the technology, we will naturally adapt to using voice commands, eye-tracking, and touch controls for navigating our daily lives.
AI Buddy Bot
I like to think of this pair of smart glasses that we talk back and forth to as our AI Buddy Bot. The Buddy Bots will be combined with Assessment Bots, Coach Bots, and Teacher Bots to help our next-generation education system take shape.
The Buddy Bot, which uses a conversational interface, will interact with each person in a friendly manner and respond appropriately to different types of exchanges, whether they are positive or negative.
Over time, the Buddy Bot will become our personal companion, our confidant to share our hopes and dreams, our therapist, cheerleader, protector of our privacy, and conversational coach, able to complete our sentences before we do. The AI Buddy-Bot will get to know us intimately, from our flaws to our successes. It will become the friend we always wish we had, a source of new ideas and possibilities, and our single most valuable possession.
Adding More Bots
Assessment bots will be used to test and assess students’ understanding of the material. They will provide instant feedback on performance and offer suggestions for improvement.
Coach bots will act as guides and coaches, providing personalized support such as helping students develop a study plan or providing strategies for staying motivated.
Teacher bots will line up an ongoing series of learning experiences for students ranging from traditional to online courses and everything in between. These teacher bots will use students’ learning styles and preferences, as well as their digital twin data, to recommend the most appropriate resources. They will be able to adjust the learning experience based on progress and provide new materials as needed.
The education system will no longer be limited by time and location, allowing for learning to take place outside of traditional school hours and in various non-traditional ways.
It’s important to note that while AI-based learning is set to revolutionize education, it will also pose challenges. As AI teachers improve rapidly, we may see unrealistic high expectations for their capabilities, and it may be difficult to distinguish the value added by AI teachers from that of human teachers. It’s crucial that we invest in rigorous research and development to realize the full potential of AI in education.
Envisioning Our Future Education System
In conclusion, the future of education is poised to be revolutionized by AI. With the use of digital twins, buddy bots, assessment bots, coach bots, and teacher bots, the education system will become more personalized, efficient, and adaptive to individual students’ needs. It’s an exciting time for education and a prime opportunity to re-imagine how we approach learning in the 21st century.
I firmly believe that education is still the biggest opportunity in the online world that no one has quite cracked the code for yet.