Technology will replace the best teachers of the future with intelligent machines, according to a leading university vice chancellor.
Sir Anthony Shelden, vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham and former master of Wellington College, predicts the change will happen within the next 10 years and will completely transform the education system.
Teachers will remain in classrooms to set up equipment and maintain discipline according to Sir Anthony, but they will simply be assistants while the real education is done by artificial intelligence.
“It certainly will change human life as we know it. It will open up the possibility of an Eton or Wellington education for all,” said Sir Anthony.
“Everyone can have the very best teacher and it’s completely personalised; the software you’re working with will be with you throughout your education journey.
“It can move at the speed of the learner. This is beyond anything that we’ve seen in the industrial revolution or since
with any other new technology.”
Sir Anthony explained his vision of the future in a talk at the British Science Festival, and will also cover the matter in his new book, The Fourth Education Revolution, which will be published next year.
The first revolution was about learning the basics of survival according he thinks, citing skills such as foraging, hunting, growing crops and building shelters.
The second involved the organised sharing of knowledge, the third he says was marked by the invention of printing.
In the fourth revolution, children will progress at their own pace and be chaperoned in their learning by artificial intelligence.
“I’m desperately sad about this but I’m afraid I am (suggesting machines would replace the inspirational role of teachers),” said Sir Anthony.
“The machines will be extraordinarily inspirational.
“You’ll still have the humans there walking around during school time, but in fact the inspiration in terms of intellectual excitement will come from the lighting-up of the brain which the machines will be superbly well-geared for.
“The machines will know what it is that most excites you and gives you a natural level of challenge that is not too hard or too easy, but just right for you.”