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Monday, April 24, 2017

AI to Take Higher Ed Out of ‘the Dark Ages’

The artificial-intelligence (AI) wave isn’t on the horizon; it’s already here, according to Joseph Qualls, a clinical assistant professor at the Coeur d’Alene branch of the University of Idaho’s College of Engineering. “You are either going to surf that wave or it’s going to crash on you,” he told EdTech Magazine: Focus on Higher Education in a recent Q&A.

Qualls is also CEO and president of RenderMatrix Inc., a research-and-development engineering company, and co-founder of Avid Intelligence, which researches and prototypes AI-focused products for the defense and private sectors.

He predicts AI applications will cause “massive change” from K-12 to higher ed, creating a highly personalized, interactive, and faster path forward for each student. The notion of massive lecture courses and having students all learning the same material may someday be viewed as “education out of the Dark Ages,” Qualls said.

In the long term, “having large universities and large faculties teaching students is probably going to go away,” he added. Until then—for the next 20 years in Qualls’ estimation—instructors will continue to step in when the AI isn’t ready for the task at hand. After that, he noted, professors’ roles might change “from educating a student to educating an AI.”

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