- Transhumanism promotes human advancement via emerging technologies
- But as technologies like AI expand, many tools are not universally accessible, which could exacerbate educational disparities
- See related article: Why AI’s flaws won’t slow its adoption
We collectively stand in the beginning stages of academic and technological innovation. Universities and labs across the globe are stirring a revolution. Transhumanism, a philosophy advocating for human augmentation through emerging technologies like AI, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology, is shaping a new educational frontier. The genesis was Chat GPT, an AI developed by OpenAI that exhibits human-like text generation, but that was just the start of this profound transformation. Those who attempted an outright ban early in 2023 now seem out of step with the future.
Transhumanism aims to transcend human limitations, a concept no longer purely theoretical. In the realm of sports, for instance, we see strength-enhancing “powered clothing” by Seismic and performance-boosting drugs like EPO, repurposed by athletes from its original use for severe anemia.
Transhumanism is already materializing. As artificial limbs made of carbon fiber potentially outpace natural ones, we must ask: In education, is it ethical to embrace such technological enhancements?
AI’s transformational impact is burgeoning in every sector, making its integration into education not a question of if, but when. AI-equipped students could experience accelerated information acquisition and rapid design iteration, promising an enticing vision. Yet, this prospect invites a multitude of ethical questions. Could such advancements foster an AI-dependent generation? Might this deepen educational disparities between those who can and cannot afford these enhancements?
Implementing AI in the classroom is not just about improving the learning process, but also about preparing students for a future where AI will be an integral part of many professions. It’s about fostering digital literacy and computational thinking, skills that will be essential in the job market of the future and navigating the wider world, only recently we saw the release of Threads by Meta as a direct challenge to Twitter, and another digital network to join the growing list of social media outlets for our learners to navigate.
To be more education specific, take AI tutoring systems, like Carnegie Learning’s MATHia or Thinkster Math. By personalizing tutoring and adapting to a student’s learning pace and style, these AI systems have been successful in improving learning outcomes. Yet, these cutting-edge tools are not universally accessible, which could exacerbate educational disparities.
As AI in the education sector is projected to reach $404 billion by 2025, tech giants like IBM have begun introducing AI systems, like Watson, into classrooms. While this promises improved personalized learning, it raises concerns about data privacy, increased student surveillance, and the potential erosion of human touch in education.
Critics also cite the risk of amplifying bias and question our awareness of the technology’s impacts. As we grapple with these complexities, it’s paramount to establish an ethical framework. As educators and innovators, we need to safeguard against potential misuse and ensure equitable access.
Many tools have already started to initiate research into AI’s benefits for dyslexic individuals. Technologies such as text-to-speech and speech-to-text, personalized learning tools, and predictive text and grammar checkers can revolutionize the learning experience all potentially deliver tremendous benefits.
Despite the concerns, we stand at the precipice of an AI-fueled educational era. As we experiment with transhumanism, our journey should be navigated with both excitement and caution. We must strike a balance between harnessing the benefits of AI and maintaining our ethical standards, utilizing the skills of Futurists and innovators to point out potential boobytraps in the road.
We’re at the start of an AI journey that demands technological innovation and ethical courage. As we push human potential boundaries within our schools, let’s strive to safeguard our human values.
In our pursuit of technological advancement, we must ensure we don’t lose sight of the essence of education–nurturing curious, compassionate, and ethical individuals who are prepared to navigate an increasingly complex world.
The future of education as it responds to AI lies in striking this delicate balance.
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