From students to teachers of machines

Yesterday I was invited to give a keynote lecture to all the managing directors of La Salle Schools to address the challenges we will face in the digital age we are building.

For me it all begins with the desire of humans to extend our default physical and mental capabilities, and we have been very prolific doing this, from creating tools to extend our physical limitations and of course, amongst others, with the development of language, writing and mathematics to extend our mental constraints too.

And over the last 70 years we developed amazing technologies to store and process our knowledge. With one of its peek moments with the invention of the Internet, changing forever the way we communicate, opening a new world of opportunities, and enabling for example the rapid growth of globalization.

Later on the mobile revolution bringing connectivity and computing everywhere and anytime, to be complemented a few years later with the mass adoption of social networks changing the way we create societies, hierarchies and even redefining trust.

And now we are in the verge of the virtual and artificial reality mass adoption too, that will extend the way we learn, discover and create too.

But something is going to change everything all over again, Artificial Intelligence.

Recent advances in AI are starting to influence almost every facet of life itself, from the way we work (or not in the future) to the way we will evolve as species.

Every month we develop and train algorithms that perform a specific task much better than any (non augmented) human, and basically now, machines are starting to learn.

But this learning is currently induced or at least started mostly by humans, so we are in a sense teachers of machines, not only due to the algorithms we create but also due to the “samples” we use to teach “them”.

This will be gradually be overridden, in the following years and decades, by machines learning fully autonomously and machines learning from other machines.

So before this happens, speaking to almost 200 school directors was a great and humbling opportunity, since they have the key to influence 1000s of teachers and 10000s of students.

And I indeed think that their role is more important than ever before in human history since their students of today will be the last human teachers of machines, and the “values” they teach “them” will have a critical impact in the future of our society.

© 2018 Copyright David Vivancos   All rights reserved.


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