Last summer saw a new member of staff join the rota at the Atlanta-based Georgia Tech University in the US. The recently deployed teaching assistant is called Jill Watson. Ms. Watson assists with online feedback on several postgraduate courses. However, Jill is slightly different than other members of staff mainly because she is a robot.
Yes, you read that right – a robot! Robot teachers have arrived.
Is this the future of schools? ROBOT lets teachers take lessons, check work and talk to students from thousands of miles away. Is this the future of schools?
Students taking these courses were unaware until recently that she was different from other assistants. Unsurprisingly, feedback from students has been that she is very efficient. The rationale for putting Jill in place was in response to the high volume of basic queries from students on online forums that were taking up a lot of time for professors. The faculty felt that having a robot programmed to deal with most these types of queries would save both time and money, as well as delivering a more responsive service to students.
Robotic teachers could well be the way of the future, especially with the development of increasingly sophisticated technology. Many expect the rise in artificial intelligence will affect everyone in some shape or form in the not-too-distant future. In fact, some would say that it has already started. Many experts in this field have predicted that in less than five years, artificial intelligence will replace many office jobs as machines replace human resources.
The benefits of using robots in education support roles include the fact that they can work without breaks and will not get distracted. No more time spent on Facebook during work hours. The use of robots within education has also been a way to reach a wider range of people. Many academicians also hope that programming robots to deliver specific areas of the curriculum will result in a more level playing field, as robots will be free from bias.
The use of robots will also allow educational establishments to cut salary costs. However, it remains to be seen how students would feel about receiving feedback and constructive criticism from a robot rather than a human. Of course, there are also wider issues around the loss of jobs and expertise.
If you have an interest in these type of technological advances, Oxbridge Home Learning’s distance learning A-Level Physics course would be relevant. As you will learn about mechanics and electric circuits, both of which will be a requirement in the field of robotics.
British academics have helped develop a robot. This robot is both a home help and a friend to older people who may be ill, trapped or alone. The Care-O-bot 3 is much more like a utilitarian household appliance than the action figures that featured in the futuristic film iRobot, starring Will Smith. And she – or he – is more likely to offer a Karaoke sing along and make a cup of coffee than go on a murderous rampage – or at least that is the idea.
The robot is the result of a collaboration between British and European academics. Done under the umbrella of Accompany – Acceptable Robotics Companions for Ageing Years. The hope is that it will help older people. Help them to stay in their homes and live an independent life.