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Sep 25 2017 - 02:40am
AI Urges Progress in China's Education System Reform



I read a great article today about Dr. Yingyi Qian's presentation about why the reform of China's education system is imperative due to the emerging technologies such as AI. Dr. Qian is Dean and Professor of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Sorry it's in Chinese. You can try Google Translate.


The main ideas of his presentation are:


* It is consensus that AI and other advanced technologies will be replacing information keeping/retrieval and lower-order repetitive procedural works in all industries and professions.


* China's education system is known to be superior in manufacturing good "test takers". Good test takers are more likely to become good information keepers and skillful workers in their careers. They are less likely to become innovators, leaders, or researchers which require creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills.


* With the increasing impact of AI and other advanced technologies in the next several decades, the job market will become more in favor of people with innovation skills/thinking. Good "test takers" will be laid off.


* Therefore, China's education system must transform its values and practices asap in order to catch up with the new world powered by modern technologies. Otherwise China's education system will have no advantage at all.


I totally agree with Dr. Qian's opinions. I remember a great but controversial quote which I can relate. Not the exact words but something like:


- We are a data-driven company.
- No you can't be a data-driven company. It is human being's responsibility to make decisions in order to make your customers happy and company successful. Data is the tool to help human beings make correct decisions. If you let data make decisions for you, your company will die.


Similarly, education cannot be technology driven. Technology is to help educators and students perform their work more efficiently. With AI, machine learning, analytics, and so on, human beings can make decisions much better. For example, teachers can discover problems of their student's learning sooner and intervene in time because AI suggests the student may be having a problem based on the typical learning pattern and statistics of past students. But you should never let AI decide what to do with the student - it may hurt the student.

Posted in: Education|By: Zhou Zhou|545 Reads