Giving Compass' Take:

· Technology is taking over, and after seeing a young girl interact with a robot teacher, Miles Sandler shares his concerns for the future of teaching and education.

· Does artificial intelligence provide the same human-like qualities necessary for children in school? Will artificial intelligence eventually replace human jobs?

· Robot teachers? Read more about robots and how they might reshape college teaching.

Earlier this year, I witnessed a scene out of science fiction, had it not been reality.

A video shown at the NewSchools Venture Fund annual conference showed a young African-American girl answering a teacher’s questions with confidence, enthusiastic to get them right. The girl was real, but the teacher was not. She was a virtual instructor named "ALEX," powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The virtual being was programmed to use an African-American dialect. The video clearly demonstrated the child’s improved responsiveness because of this cultural relevance, reacting significantly different than another child whose virtual teacher only spoke standard English.

For many in the audience, witnessing this video emphasized the growing need for more educators of color in the classroom. This is certainly true since the study showed significant gains among the children that interfaced with the culturally-relatable teacher.

However, for me, seeing how this child reacted to the virtual being as if it were alive raised troubling questions about the role of educators in the future. If AI-powered instructors were readily available and perhaps even more responsive to students’ needs, will we even need humans?

Read the full article about robot teachers by Miles Sandler at the Kauffman Foundation.