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Technology in Education

Will Robots replace Teachers in the Future?

Spoiler alert! Not likely. Robots are not going to replace teachers in the foreseeable future. Even in the Terminator-esque dystopian future where robots take over humanity, Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t be your science teacher! In reality, colleges and universities are more likely to use robots as learning tools.

On the brighter side, they actually make the teachers’ jobs incredibly easy. Not only will mundane and repetitive tasks be fully automated, but the robots will also help them deliver lectures to students who don’t even speak the same language.

Playing the devil’s advocate for a moment here, let us ask ourselves — will robots make good teachers? Let’s find out.

Advantages of Robot Teachers:

  1. Interacting with a robot teacher can help students grasp technological skills in a better way.
  2. They are cost-effective, in the context that they do not need to get paid because they simply deliver in accordance with the instructions given to them.
  3. They are typically programmed with updated information and hence deliver students with the latest knowledge and methodologies in any subject.
  4. Research suggests students are more enthusiastic to be mentored by robots than by actual humans.

Disadvantages of Robot Teachers:

  1. With the current technology we have, most robots require to be constantly charged to function, which may lead to sky-high electricity bills.
  2. Even the best AI doesn’t possess emotional intelligence. Robot teachers won’t be able to understand and counsel students going through a rough emotional period.
  3. To run robot software and hardware efficiently, classrooms need to be equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure that puts a heavy load on the internet connection as well.
  4. Robot teachers will not be able to come up with creative or innovative ideas to help students understand concepts or provide students with critical feedback. They are critically limited by programming.

The most advanced AI in the world today is capable of producing breathtaking original content like poetry, prose (this article could totally be written by an AI and you wouldn’t know the difference!), paintings, music and human faces, diagnosing medical problems, beating Magnus Carlsen in a chess match and solving big science problems (a cyberpunk future like Blade Runner or Ghost in The Shell in nearer than we think). Yet, it cannot do basic things like use common sense, improvise or understand cause and effect.

The verdict — it is a win for Team Human Teachers! But the scope to integrate the helpful aspects of robots with teaching — a synthesis of humans and technology is unparalleled. Do you think robots should replace teachers? Let us know in the comments below!

Kushal S

A writer who loves literature, cinema, martial arts and pineapple on pizza. His creativity knows no bounds, especially after four shots of coffee.


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