Lifestream, Liked on YouTube: Automating Education and Teaching Machines Audrey Watters

via YouTube

I was alerted to this excellent talk by Audrey Watters by peers who were tweeting while watching the live stream (thanks Colin, and others). Of course, it is also part of James Lamb’s ‘Lifestream’, in that he featured on screen 😉

I think as a listened to/watched this talk, my focus still on ‘imaginaries’:

  • the way machine learning is used as a metaphor for human learning (Watters asks, ‘Do humans even learn in this way’?), and the consequences that holding such an understanding will have on education;
  • the giving of agency to robots (‘Robots are coming for our jobs’) when, as Watters says, robots do not have agency, and the decision to replace humans is one of owners opting for automation, choosing profit over people – how does the supposedly ‘technological proclamation’ naturalise the loss of human labour?
  • the ‘Uber’ model, and ‘uberization’: how is the ‘driverless’ story of algorithmic governance sold, so that surveillance, the removal of human decision makers with human values and personalization all become naturalised.. and even seen as goals?

There is so much in this talk which I valued. I won’t go through it all – the basic premise is that we need to resist the imaginaries, the reliance on data, and we need to recognise the motivations driving the imaginaries while valuing the human in education. It links to my idea for the final assignment about unpacking ‘imaginaries’ more, but also to my ideas about making a site based around developing ‘algorithmic literacy’:

“You’ve got to be the driver. You’re not incharge when the algorithm is driving” [38:30]

Really worth the watch.