A new pilot at a school in Tel-Aviv aims to overcome one of Israel’s biggest challenges in the education system: the shortage of teachers. Instead of human teachers, the pilot uses a virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI) system that replaces some of the teachers. I have no doubt that AI systems, computers, and the internet can teach children anything humans can teach them, if not more. Providing information is not a problem today, and schools in general are not needed for this. The problem is not teaching, but educating, meaning raising children to be social human beings who can interact with their environment in a healthy, positive manner, and form a solid and safe society. AI cannot teach that.
Today, people’s main problem is not that they need to know more. It is easy to learn anything you want through online platforms or traditional ones. Yet people feel unhappy or insecure not for lack of knowledge, but for lack of positive, warm relationships with other people. If people have no one to trust, no one to love, and who would love them back, they will not be happy, they will not be positive elements in society, and they will not succeed in life.
“AI cannot teach human relationships. It cannot be a role model that children want to follow. This task—raising children to be confident and happy adults—is the sole domain of human educators.”
AI cannot teach human relationships. It cannot be a role model that children want to follow. This task—raising children to be confident and happy adults—is the sole domain of human educators.
Although English often overlooks this nuance, the difference between education and teaching is that teaching means imparting people with information, while educating means turning individuals into confident people who realize their potential and contribute to society.
Education, therefore, is the single most important trade. Good education, in the sense I just described, is the basis of any stable and sustainable society. If we want a future where our children are happy and lead a good life, they need educators who guide them into being caring and connected human beings. No AI system can teach that, only educators who teach by personal example that children want to emulate can shape today’s children into tomorrow’s thriving society.