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Clare Honeyfield on the implications of AI

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Just in case it passed you by, Artificial Intelligence (AI) just got huge.

As with all things in life, we can approach this with fear or with curiosity and intrigue.

I’ve spent a bit of my free time checking out the new technology for myself. And my mind is blown. I can do tasks which take me literally years of training, research, and of building understanding of a sector. In seconds. In any style. To any word count. Or none.

So, what are the implications for society?

Here are some of my thoughts, for what it’s worth.

If it is no longer necessary to learn and regurgitate facts, is there any point to the current education system?

With this new technology, much of the basis of our education system is now suddenly irrelevant.

Bear with me here, this is a lot to get your head around.

What if.

What if our education system became more about being a great person, learning about great ways to relate to others, learning communication skills, learning about how to build community? What if education, in the light of this new technology, embraced entrepreneurialism, personal development, health and wellbeing, meditation and yoga, woodland skills, foraging, fire making, growing food and how to cook on fire, how to build a clay oven, how to build a shelter? What if there was more time for the arts, creativity, crafts, making things by hand, for dance, drama, music, learning an instrument, starting micro businesses and making Lego models? How about learning to manage money, apply for a mortgage, set up a business? Learning martial arts? Personal development and state management? Having time to create and perform fantastic theatrical and dance performances…. costume and clothing design and production. Sewing skills, woodwork, forging, pottery…the possibilities are endless.

What if the curriculum became about creating better humans who are guardians of the land rather that consumers who’s only focus it to earn enough to pay the bills? What if students were able to explore ways to reclaim wilderness, rewild the land and make the planet a better place for everyone? And I’m not talking about the odd sponsored competition or project, I’m talking about a whole scale revolution in learning and growing from childhood to adulthood.

It is much cheaper to run a society of happy, fulfilled and connected people living in caring communities.  But of course, this doesn’t necessarily support ultra capitalism. The endless consumption of – well anything really – in an attempt to find a feeling of connection or belonging.

The wild thing is that with this new technology, there is absolutely no reason for a six-year-old to be sat at a desk taking a test, getting stressed and worrying about being good enough. Potentially that whole system of testing from early years, the whole Victorian education model, could be thrown out of the window in favour of a people and planet friendly education model where everyone gets to experience their own connection with others, an organic curriculum which grows out of the interests and passions of students and teachers, where people are prepared for life, not for a lifetime of working 46 weeks of the year for a corporation with no end in sight.

If our current education was a model for the industrial revolution, is it time we reinvented education for the technological revolution?

It sounds crazy, but it’s all possible now.

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