How Artificial Intelligence Could Help to End Poverty

When you are sitting in bright and spacious classroom, have you ever thought that there are still plenty of children on the same planet that cannot go to school and receive the very basic education?

In the poorest areas in China, there are still many families whose average monthly income is less than $60. A lot of children could not afford cheap tuition. And even they could, teaching resources is incredibly scarce — it is extremely hard to retain good teachers and volunteer teachers for they are often scared away by the hard living condition. Many of volunteer teachers cannot even stay longer than 3 months.

It is not hard to imagine that these children almost have no chance to get the quality education as their urban peers. It is the lack of education that makes “ change fate and get rid of poverty” seem like mission impossible.

Thanks to the advancing of AI technologies and robotics, we now see hope and real change may happen in the near future. We have already seen artificial intelligence have addressed several challenges of learning, including language processing, reasoning, planning, and cognitive modeling.

Known as Intelligent Tutor Systems, the computer application now is able to diagnose the learner’s understanding and assess learning ability level. Based on that, it can also provide customized and timely guidance, feedback and explanations to the learner. That is a big leap. As we all know, different people has different learning curve. One-for-all education is not the right way to provide education and it cannot achieve the optimum result for everybody.

These Intelligent Tutor Systems are able to mimic the benefit of one-to-one tutoring. Most important of all, supporting by big data, these systems can approach the effectiveness of expert tutors and thus provide the best education to everyone no matter who you are.

Imagine what will happen if these Intelligent Tutor Systems are available to the children in poor areas. A mentor that can teach and answer questions all day long. It doesn’t need sleep, doesn’t need to eat. It is able to memorize every student’s performance data and give them personalized tutoring. The education gap between rich and poor areas disappears. Children in poor area finally have access to the top notch courses as children in big cities. Isn’t that exciting! Not only AI will promote education to poor area, it will also help to defeat poverty as time goes by.

Does it sound unrealistic? I don’t think so. Is it too far away? I hope not.