How Artificial Intelligence Can Expand Digital Literacy Skills

By. Michael Condra 

For the past 25 years the internet has changed the way we work, but will the emergence of artificial intelligence change our lives even more? At the Google I/O conference, Google CEO Sundar Pichai noted how Google will start integrating its new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) with its cloud services that will take machine learning to the next level as the company moves toward artificial intelligence. This integration allows Google to train it’s AI systems, such as AlphaGo, in image recognition, translation and to perform other tasks with greater efficiency. Everyone currently uses AI in one way or another to ask for directions and ordering coffee, but systems like Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa can help us in more ways. While there has been more attention on classroom designs that focus on natural lighting, comfortable seating, and other aesthetic amenities to improve students learning environment. 

What’s not discussed is the role that artificial intelligence will have a heavier hand in course planning by analyzing student performance and recommending materials for improvement. As stated earlier this year by Rose Luckin in How We Get To Next, AI will “make ongoing assessments based on daily student performance and engagement in the classroom, there is simply no longer any need for often inaccurate and stressful evaluations.” This can provide an accelerated learning method for students as emerging technologies continue to change the way we live and learn with them. Added functionalities of AI will prepare students for the future of work that will require them to have digital literacy skills to compete for technology related jobs. As recently mentioned by Fast Company, jobs such as “Virtual Reality Experience Designer,” “Remote Healthcare Specialist,” and “3-D Printer Specialist” will require individuals who have experience with AI related software and tools. Future jobs will require highly skilled workers who are comfortable using the internet with machines the can easily perform repetitive and simple tasks. 

According to the IBA Global Employment Institute, “the number of factory workers is constantly decreasing, and humans are ever more becoming the control mechanism of the machine,” which will require more highly skilled and trained workers. Furthermore “special knowledge or a flair for high-quality craftsmanship will become less important, since this work is likely to be done by intelligent software or a machine.” This trend will likely continue as AI systems advance, but if workers improve their skills sets alongside AI, future employment in different fields will be possible. The integration of AI in our schools, workplace and everyday life will have a profound impact on our digital literacy skills. This proliferation of AI will help more people expand their digital literacy skills by analyzing speech and search patterns and recommending online sources to improve their knowledge. The way in which AI will perform this by its “ability to acquire and interpret contextual cues” from us through our engagement with our devices. While AI will be ubiquitous in many fields of the future there is simply one aspect that AI can live without; us.   

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