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AIEU-The New Vowels of Education

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have been around for some time, but it shot into the limelight only in November 2022 with the launch of ChatGPT by a US startup company OpenAI. Suddenly, the world realised the power of AI-driven language models -- from writing articles, poems, programming code, responding to customer queries and undertaking skill tests. 

In March 2023, Microsoft founder Bill Gates noted in his Blog GatesNotes that he was excited by the developments in ChatGPT as it succeeded in answering 59 out of 60 questions in a multiple-choice Advanced Placement (AP) biology examination. It also wrote outstanding answers to six open-ended questions in the examination getting the highest possible score of 5 equivalent to A or A+.

However, the education sector was not entirely enthused with the developments. In some countries, ChatGPT was banned in campuses as authorities feared students will use it to write project reports and assignments. Such knee jerk reactions from society are not unusual when new technologies or systems were first introduced. Remember, when computers were first introduced in 1980’s, many feared that it would lead to loss of jobs and cause millions of unemployed people roaming the streets. 

In many countries including India, AI tools may not be introduced into education sector in the near future. However, as Bill Gates as pointed out, (AI) “will change the way people work, learn, travel, get health care, and communicate with each other. Entire industries will reorient around it. Businesses will distinguish themselves by how well they use it.”

As the world is grappling with the likely disruptions that AI may cause in industry impacting existing businesses, jobs and new investments, education sector also needs to take a hard look at how AI could help schools and colleges to provide better learning experience, evaluation and assessment of students. It requires to think of how existing content-oriented education should lead to development of a mindset that is creative, innovative and entrepreneurial, making itself suitable for an AI age.