The Realities of Artificial Intelligence and Adaptive Learning

Feature post by Clark Quinn

There’s been quite the spate of discussion of late about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and adaptive learning.  You’ve no doubt seen the commercials where Watson conducts conversations with talents from Bob Dylan to teacher Ashley Bryant, the latter in which great learning outcomes are proposed. And I think it’s important to know what is real, where we are, and where we are going, if we’re to plan accordingly. We’ve previously touched on AI, but it’s worth going deeper.

To start, we need to clarify what AI really is. Artificial intelligence can be a number of things: doing smart things with computers, or doing smart things with computers the way people do them. The distinction is important.  Computers work differently than our brains: our brains are serial consciously, but parallel underneath. Computers are serial underneath, though we can have multiple processors, and there now are parallel hardware architectures as well. Still, it’s hard to do parallel in computing, whereas we’re naturally that way.

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