AI is here to stay. So, in a world with AI, what is human intelligence?

AI is a powerful tool that mimics human intelligence with the ability to improve itself through machine learning. It processes large amounts of data, finds patterns and performs tasks like creating schedules far faster than humans.

Where do humans excel? 

Humans have perspective. We are able to take the information we have and judge it, looking for meaning. People are able to understand abstract concepts like beauty, ethics, truth and kindness.

With this backdrop, how do we prepare our children and ourselves for the future?

AI and education

Education and learning must look different. 

We should not fear AI. Outright bans of its use in schools is the wrong policy. But so is its unrestrained and unguided use. So, let’s teach children to use AI while questioning given answers and verifying claims — good skills in any situation.

According to a recent article published by the Guardian, a college professor recently caught multiple students using AI to completely write their papers for class. Instead of punishing the students, the professor had one-on-one conversations with the students and asked about why they used AI instead of writing their papers themselves. This was likely the right step, but this type of conversation should happen before an assignment.

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I doubt anyone would consider it wrong if these students had used AI to help with idea generation, or to identify when they used passive instead of active voice. AI can be used in these ways.

Even Khan Academy is using AI to individualize learning for students on their platform. Although it is early, it will provide faster feedback than most teachers can. 

The role of the teacher

The rapid development of AI can and should change both public schools and higher education. Teachers, whether parents or professionals, have an opportunity to move into a mentor role. The professor from before did this. 

Mentors can guide students through the use of AI. Have discussions about its ethical use. Explore the capabilities together. Show the flaws that something like ChatGPT has and teach students to question the answers.

But even more important, mentors have an opportunity to not just see if students got the right answer, but to discuss, one on one, the answers that they gave. Mentors can ask their students questions and get them to think deeper about their work and reasoning. 

One thing that is certain is that education cannot remain standardized and be effective.

Children should be taught creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. They should be taught to question answers. This is how education should adapt to a world with AI.

AI will continue to take on more complex tasks. The developers of AI will fix its current flaws. Therefore, knowing how to use AI effectively will be a powerful skill. Using it ethically will be powerful for humanity.

Jon England is a former public school teacher and principal and the education policy analyst at the Libertas Institute in Utah.