The one overarching theme I that really took hold of my attention and my imagination this week is the use of machines as tools to reach academic and personal objectives. As I have read others’ blogs the issue that seems to have grabbed is the confluence of human and machine in terms of using machines or applications as educational tools. I am not sure why this issue has hit me so hard; perhaps I see in the world today real progress (or some would say digression) toward the expansion of the human experience, especially in terms of education.
A powerful sub-theme has been the physical and intellectual integration of machines and humans. In The Manifesto for Cyborgs, Haraway (2007) states, “we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machines and organisms” (p. 35). Haraway uses the cyborg as the metaphor for blurring of boundaries between man and machine. Many of my posts have addressed this very issue. For the most part, the cyborgs and androids we have seen from Hollywood have been a mix of malevolent and the benevolent. In most, not always, there is a common absence of human emotion that would determine the actions of good or evil, depending of course, on the desire of the creator or programmer.
In The Transhumanist FAQ, Bostrom (2003) states, “No threat to human existence is posed by today’s AI systems or their near-term successors. But if and when superintelligence is created, it will be of paramount importance that it be endowed with human friendly values” (p. 24). This, I believe, is a very telling statement. If we continue to develop AI for our use, might we be in danger of creating ultimately, sentient beings that have the capability of self-thought and self-realization? And what does this mean for us as educators and how we approach learning? In fact, what will learning even be like say, 100 years from now?
I know I have gone over my 250-word limit but believe me, I can go on and on. I will post later a clip from the movie Forbidden Planet. I think this movie could be the ultimate in what we could face in AI development.
Bostrom, Nick (2003). The Transhumanist FAQ. World Transhumanism Association, pages 1-56.
Haraway, D. (2007). A cyborg manifesto. In D. Bell & B. M. Kennedy (Eds.), The cybercultures reader (2nd ed, pp. 34–65). London ; New York: Routledge.