We’re living in a world where a lot of jobs are being handed over to robots, just because they’re much more efficient at performing tasks when compared to humans. Sure, they’re taking away a lot of employment opportunities from people, but they’re also saving millions in revenue and countless hours in time. Robotics, as a medium, is efficient in every single way imaginable, and that is why robots are being shoved into many industries today.
Many people now wonder, can they be ‘shoved’ into every one of today’s industries?
The question we will discuss in this article is whether or not robotics will be able to replace teachers in the near future. To answer this question, we’re going to go in-depth and talk about why it is even deemed a possibility. Then, we will propose our conclusion. To further validate our conclusion, we will include reasons as to how we came to the answer that we did.
Let’s get to it!
How Is This Even Possible?
Robots are being used today as teachers to a certain extent. We have those fancy learning toys that are utilized in teaching kids some basic stuff they need to know before starting pre-school. All you need to do is program a set of facts and figures and put them into a moving toy. Pretty simple, right? But how can you implement the same strategy into an industry that’s changing and developing literally every single day? Moreover, higher levels of education are way past the point of hard-coding into a chip. Something new had to be developed that made things simpler: artificial intelligence.
Basically, the reason why the idea of robots as teachers is even being entertained is that machines possessing AI are self-learning. You could simply give a machine access to the web and it would come out a walking encyclopedia of facts. Moreover, AI enables robots to alter their teaching style according to every student by learning and analyzing weaknesses and adapting rapidly. When you take into consideration the basic duties of a teacher, you’ll see that a robot can potentially perform at the same level as a human. However, there’s more to this than meets the eye.
Answering the Question
So, let’s delve deeper and answer the question at hand. When you ask us whether robots will be able to replace teachers in the near future, our answer is ‘no’. While it does seem a good option, and one that could have tons of benefits, the truth is that the cons outweigh the pros.
The fact of the matter is that if you think the only job of a teacher is to teach students menial facts and formulas, you probably didn’t have the most outgoing teachers. Think about the actual responsibilities of a good teacher and you’ll be able to get to your own conclusion. And, spoiler alert, it’ll be identical to ours.
Clarifications to Support the Claim
Naturally, we’re not going to make such a tremendous claim, that goes against the opinion of a lot of scientific experts, without having a few reasons to back it up. So, in order to satiate your curiosity, here are the reasons why robots will never be able to replace teachers.
Speaking of curiosity, (see what we did there?), we created a slight bit of suspense in the preceding paragraph and goaded you into reading on. We incited your curiosity and made you put some effort into doing what we wanted you to do.
Now think about this, a robot is teaching a class. It’s voice is extremely dull and half the class is on the brink of sleeping. How does this even remotely incite curiosity? You’re giving students facts and figures, which is necessary, but you’re taking away the factor of studying and forcing them to listen to something that is extremely dull. This strategy is not at all efficient because listening and learning are two very different things. The students will be listening to the robot talk about the facts, but they won’t digest the vast majority of what is being said.
Motivation and Inspiration
Apart from inciting curiosity, another strategy that teachers use to encourage students to participate and learn more in class is motivation. Let’s use an example.
A female teacher lectures about female oppression in the last few centuries. She discusses how women were viewed as material objects, how they were not allowed to vote, and how they weren’t even remotely viewed as contributing members to society. The teacher then pivots to the current situation and talks about how though things have gotten better, the fight for women’s rights is not even remotely over. She then carries on and tells the girls that they’re the ones who can force society to change and accept females as equals. As a result, you’ll have an eager group of young women that are willing to work hard and effortlessly to achieve the goal that the teacher put in front of them. This is true motivation.
You’re inspiring students to work hard instead of randomly dropping facts and figures. Sure, this strategy takes longer and you’ll have to act as a motivational speaker every other week, but as a result of your tireless bantering, your class will be willing and eager to learn.
Now, change the scene and think about a robot in the situation. Will it be able to inspire the students in a similar way? Will it be able to put feeling and emotions into it’s voice to sound convincing? No! And it will never be able to.
Sorting Personal Problems
A lot of the times, there are situations with students that prohibit them from paying a certain amount of attention to their studies. This could be anything from parental problems to having to work part-time. A teacher can understand these issues and allow the student to work around them. They may propose setting a routine, give helpful tips, etc. But, the point is that no matter what problem the student has, a decent teacher will be able to accommodate the student and make their life easier in some way.
On the opposite side, a robot can never understand personal issues. To it, all kids not studying are slackers that are going to fail and the machine won’t be able to do anything to help them. A teacher is a mentor and if some of you have ever talked to your teachers about private matters, you know how understanding they can be.
Precision of Information
Artificial intelligence is smart, but it can never truly be able to differentiate between right and wrong. While AI is gifted with extreme processing capabilities, it may not be able to tell the difference between two similar pieces of information and figure out which one is correct. A good example of this is Amazon’s Alexa. You can use voice recognition and ask Alexa a bunch of questions and it’ll answer them. However, most of those answers are just based on searches over the web and if life has taught us anything, it’s that you should never trust the internet!
The point of this section is that there will be times that a robot teacher will come up with explanations and facts that aren’t totally correct.
This is quite a complex topic with hundreds of different factors and it would be an understatement to say that it was challenging to wrap it all up in one article. If you were to ask us our predictions regarding what would happen in the next 15-20 years, our answer would be ‘anything’. Basically, robots and teachers could be compared to books and television. While television is the new technology and it’s far more entertaining to us today, it could never truly replace books. Similarly, we may be seeing robotic teachers in the next decade or so, but we can still guarantee that this will only be in a handful of places and most educational institutes would stick with that human touch.