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Technology in Education

Will robots replace teachers?

Kushal S
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Spoiler alert! Not likely.

Even in the Terminator-esque scenario 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 and not teachers.

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 teachers 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.

Points on the table for Team 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 the latest 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.

Points on the table for Team Human 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 with 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!), images, music and human faces, diagnose medical problems, beat Vishwanathan Anand in a chess match and solve 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 Team Robot Teachers deserved to win? Do you think robots will run classrooms in the future? Let us know in the comments below!

Kushal S
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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