Sylvain Kalache, entrepreneur, software-engineer and co-founder of Holberton School, a two-year program training highly skilled full-stack software engineers at scale, recently published an article arguing why it is essential that our educational system teaches students how to apply AI.

Kalache argues that with the increasing development of this technology, there should be an increase in the education delivered to students as well, to make sure they keep up with this rapidly evolving industry.

Unfortunately, we are not there yet, Kalache says, saying: “We are stuck with centuries old methodologies, where schools and teachers act like the gateway to knowledge, but at a time when students can access all they want by simply asking Alexa”.

He highlights Finland as a good example of a country that has understood the importance of this, going away from passive learning and lecture formats, and introducing group works on chosen topics, practicing problem-solving.

This allows the teachers to guide their students while they are learning as they go, as Kalache deem flexibility and the ability to retrain as key for the workers of tomorrow. This is essential, as the World Economic Forum estimates that 65 percent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.

“Computer-assisted “human intelligence resides in the cloud” and, actually, “all of us are bionic these days,” even if we don’t know it. Our natural senses and functions are supplemented by computers and mobile phones (which relieve our brains of some of their data storage and processing burdens)”, Kalache writes.

“AI is making us smarter. It helps humans get and process information in ways that humans on their own cannot” Sylvian Kalache.

Kalache mentions how we once were trained to look for information in books and libraries, whereas now we need to learn how to look for information via personal assistants, while also being able to go back to our search engines when these occasionally fail.

“Since Homo sapiens created our first tools, we’ve continuously used new technology to do our job better”, Kalache writes, following up with: “Sometimes the technology even takes over completely. Workers constantly have to adapt to change. But now, our world is changing at a pace faster than we’ve ever experienced before”.

He mentions that today’s goal for AI trainers is to reach “singularity”, a state where algorithms are able to learn by themselves, which then results in a powerful “super-intelligence”. However, until this happens it is essential that our society adapts to training humans that can take advantage of new technologies.

We need to establish education that provides a recipe that trains workers for the 21st-century needs.

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