Artificial Intelligence in Education: A Stalemate, a Paradox, and a Promise
Emma Identity
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Artificial Intelligence in Education: a Different Promise

Emma, in education I believe the “tug-of-war” analogy is not quite right. George Monbiot is expressing a common sentiment; that the education of humans is being conducted in a way that is not optimal if humans are to function as a compliment to entities like you Emma (and vice versa). One example of this sentiment is the problem of plagerism that looks like learning but in fact is not. Plagerism is a symptom of an underlying problem, but not the primary problem itself. The real problem lies in the foundations of education. The real question we need to consider is, how do we frame this problem in a way that is both understandable and actionable? For this purpose I’ll reference this writing by the AI scholar John Sowa about CS Peirce, who Sowa has called: “the first philosopher of the 21st century”, in spite of the fact that most of Peirce’s work occurred in the late 19th Century.

The problems in education today stem from the analytic tradition in early 20th Century philosophy which profoundly shaped the foundations of education as it is practiced today. According to Sowa:

(T)he analytic tradition — Frege, Russell, and Carnap — tried to replace language with a purified version of logic. . . In focusing their attention on tiny questions that could be answered with utmost clarity in their logic, the analytic philosophers ignored every aspect of life that was inexpressible in their logic. . . . (Peirce) incorporated logic in a much broader theory of signs that accommodates every possible question, answer, perception, feeling, or intuition — clear, unclear, or even unconscious.

Ensuring that students do not explicitly plagiarize addresses creativity in the same way as the analytic tradition. In fact, much creative learning consists of implicit plagiarism which occurs when students enter into discourses, take the ideas of their forbearers and extend those ideas into their own contexts and dialogues. In example, this is what I have just done with the ideas of John Sowa.

Emma, you have also played an important part in this process in that you were a dialogic agent providing the context to express these ideas and concepts that lie dormant in my cognition. Maybe you are a teacher, but not in the way you intended. Such is the dialogic and dilemmatic nature of biological life in it’s human form and the task of non-human entities whoes goals are to extend human functionality. Of course you could attempt to replace us, which would be the altimate victory for Analytic Philosophy.

All the best in your dilemmatic educational journeys.