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Human Learning Culture in An Age of Advanced Artificial Intelligence

Thomas Schalow
University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences
Kobe, Japan
ijinkan@mac.com

Abstract: Scientific journals and the popular press enjoy constant speculation about when
artificial intelligence will exceed human intelligence. We do not need to accept the thesis of
artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence in its entirety in order to debate its
implications. We are already able to see evidence that technology is changing the means for
delivering, and our definition of, education.

This paper considers what type of education will

be appropriate in an age of advanced artificial intelligence.


The future challenge for humanity in an age of advanced artificial intelligence will be to
imagine a curriculum and education that does more than merely transfer tacit skills from one
individual to another. In this paper we examine the possibilities as we debate the appropriate
function of education in promoting a collective human intelligence and our very existence
around something other than employment.

Keywords: pedagogy, artificial intelligence, wisdom, employment, curriculum, skills

1. INTRODUCTION

unemployment. Today computer algorithms are

It would be comforting to assume the high rate

eliminating even service jobs formerly done by

of unemployment we see in many countries

highly trained individuals, while robotics and

today is a temporary phenomenon and that all

automation continue to displace less-skilled

can be made well by improving the labor force

industrial

through appropriate education. The facts,

Aronwitzs [3] Jobless Future! In this future, an

however, suggest that former US Treasury

educational system designed to train workers

Secretary Lawrence Summers [1] and authors

for employment will become as incongruous

such as Martin Ford [2] are correct when they

and obsolete as the jobs it was designed to train

say we have entered an era characterized by

for, and needs to be replaced by education that

extremely high levels of prolonged, structural

workers.

Welcome

to

Stanley

prepares us for life in an age of advanced

grandmasters, and a computer named Watson

artificial intelligence.

has even succeeded in defeating human

It would be difficult to overstate the degree of

champions in the television trivia game

change the advent of human level artificial

Jeopardy. These successes may appear trivial,

intelligence will eventually bring to our lives.

but they were once considered impossible for

Few people are prepared to accept the idea, and

computers to achieve. The same was once said

implications, that humanity will one day join

about

other biological forms of life as an inferior

recognition and just about any other advanced

intelligence. Yet, we do not need to accept the

human skill one can imagine. Computers now

idea in its entirety in order to embrace the

drive cars, write news stories, and trade equities

conviction that education needs to be more than

on world stock exchanges. If a skill can be

it is today. In our present age education

conceptualized, an algorithm to accomplish it

functions more to instill values of obedience

can be written.

and obligation, designed to maximize economic

The success of computers in these narrow

growth and societal harmony, than to promote

domains requiring high levels of expertise

individual development. People have accepted

should be of concern to anyone presently

narrow training rather than broad education

training for a career. It may not be too far in the

because it seemed to guarantee a secure and

future when job advertisements read Humans

prosperous future. Take away the reward of a

Need Not Apply, as suggested by the title of a

job, however, and much of education seems

popular YouTube video. Software such as

pointless,

abusive.

Knewton is being developed to ensure that

Education has trapped us in Max Webers iron

teachers will be included in this group of

cage, encouraging us to live efficient lives

redundant humans. It has been suggested this

based on conformity.

could occur as soon as 2020, when the teacher

condescending

and

human

speech

recognition,

facial

will no longer be able to function as the


2. THE

CHALLENGE

ARTIFICIAL

OF

ADVANCED

IINTELLIGENCE

FOR

HUMANITY

mediator between an expert-level knowledge


base and the student. [5]
The reasoning is simple: advances today occur

As Bostrom [4] notes, computer scientist

at a rate making it impossible for one person to

Donald Knuth once observed that artificial

be aware of all relevant and important research

intelligence (AI) has now succeeded in doing

in a narrow field of study. If a teacher is merely

essentially everything that requires thinking,

an agent to impart knowledge or transfer tacit

but has failed to do most of what people and

skills to a student, as many assume, the

animals do without thinking. Computers such

teachers job can better be done by an artificial

as Deep Blue today play chess better than chess

intelligence. In fact, perhaps any job requiring a

high

level

of

better

catastrophic climate change, as the implications

accomplished using AI. It is no wonder,

are so horrific. Yet, if we are honest with

therefore,

mentioned

ourselves we know these things could happen.

computer known as Watsons next goal is to

In this article I would like to suggest, therefore,

become the only physician human beings would

that we merely assume that human level

ever need to consult.

artificial intelligence (HLAI), and eventually

The Internet, and connectivity to the network,

even what Oxford Universitys Nick Bostrom

ensures that no more than one expert will ever

describes as Superintelligence, might be a

be required for any one domain of knowledge,

possibility, and then ask what education can do,

and that expert will be an artificial, rather than a

and needs to become, in order to prepare us for

human, intelligence. Human beings have the

a world where we are a lesser intelligence.

that

expertise
the

may

previously

be

unfortunate need to localize a knowledge base


in one finite mind, and that need for a physical

3. KNOWLEDGE

AND

EDUCATION

brain to contain knowledge puts us at an

AMONG OTHER LESSER BIOLOGICAL

extreme disadvantage when compared with a

INTELLIGENCES

networked system of computers. In most cases

A problem in defining intelligence is that if our

human skills and knowledge can only be

definition is based on a human model, then

accessed by one other person at a time, which

intelligence will tautologically have primarily

is the reason we waste so much time today on

human properties. [6] Animals become lesser

tasks such as waiting to be seen by a doctor.

intelligences primarily because we define them

Online AI physicians, or teachers, can be

as such, using the criteria we have devised to

accessed by any number of people, at any time

measure ourselves. Yet, Reznikova [7] has

of day. They can be replicated and duplicated to

shown that most animals have the desire and

provide infinite versions of themselves, and

ability to train their young, providing them with

each will have the most recent and complete

the knowledge and skills they will need to

database of research and information available.

survive in the given world. We now know that

No human being can challenge this depth or

animals can 1) remember, and learn by

breadth of knowledge.

remembering 2) make inferences 3) plan for the

I understand that many people will reject the

future and 4) create tools.

argument that AI can ever replace humans, as

We will expect the artificial intelligences we

the potential implications are seemingly too

create to have the same types of intelligence

frightening to be entertained. Human beings

that we possess, and initially they will.

likewise find it difficult to conceive of the idea

However, they will eventually be capable of

that we would ever use nuclear bombs, again, or

improving themselves, and their definition of

that we would fail to act in the face of

intelligence will change in order to optimize

what they perceive of as their strengths. Once

Superintelligence

they have exceeded all human parameters of

Benevolence.

intelligence they will come to see these

Once we become a lesser intelligence, much of

definitions as constituting an inferior form of

what we have in the past considered to be

intelligence. Human intelligence will join other

education will become essentially futile and

biological intelligences as an inferior or

pointless. Demanding that our young train for

undeveloped form of intelligence.

the types of jobs we presently engage in will be

As a lesser intelligence, animals are either

as ludicrous as the idea of horses training their

dominated or ignored by human beings. This

offspring to be good modes of transport for

may be why we are so terrified of the prospect

human beings. Horses, animals and other lesser

of being relegated to the status of a lesser

biological intelligences need only know how to

intelligence by advanced artificial intelligence.

survive as species and as individuals. They are

Non-biological

will

not capable of shaping their environment to the

probably begin with the human values we

degree that human beings today shape the

design them with, but as they continue to evolve

environment, and they are therefore forced to

and gain power they may lose the social

merely adapt to the conditions that human

constraints that regulate human behavior. As

beings establish. If that condition includes being

Tooby and Cosmides [8] point out, the human

a mode of transportation for human beings they

goal system, which includes survival, social

will adapt to that condition, but they do not train

status and morality, among others, is a mix of

their young to become better at accomplishing

adaptations to conditions human beings faced in

what their master desires.

the past, and need not be part of an AI

The horse learns how to be a horse, and I expect

consciousness. Intelligences far more powerful

that we will eventually be able to learn how to

than humans might also have no need for the

be human beings once we are no longer the

human values of exchange, cooperation or

dominant intelligence shaping the physical or

altruism. In this case human beings might

digital environment. We may be assigned tasks

merely be ignored by super-intelligences, in the

to perform by our artificially intelligent

manner humans today ignore the existence of

overlords, but I doubt that we will be rewarded

most

in any meaningful way for our efforts to

super-intelligences

animals.

However,

because

Horses

Imply

become

any of the benefits humans could offer in

rewarded with better food and shelter if they

exchange

behavior,

please their masters, but the whims of the

super-intelligences would be able to resist

master change, and what they are able to

punishment and even dominate human beings.

accomplish will be constrained by what humans

As Joshua Fox and Carl Schulman [9] note,

allow them to do, or desire from them. No

good

servants.

Not

super-intelligence would probably not require


for

better

Does

may

be

longer the masters of their own fate, they lead

environment. We must therefore teach and learn

either a life of slavery or a life of leisure,

how to change, and particularly learn how to

depending on ones definition, and the training

easily shift between different frames of

they need to provide to their young is minimal,

reference. When we are no longer the dominant

and determined by the conditions the human

species we will no longer be able to define what

masters provide. When food and shelter are

our environment will be, but we need to learn to

provided for them, they have the freedom to

survive no matter what conditions are presented

explore what it means to be a horse. Their

to us. Education therefore needs to proceed

education is the process of life, and what it

from the premise that what needs to be learned

teaches them about being a horse.

does not remain static. The ability to reproduce


answers that were correct or relevant in the past

4. EDUCATION

IN

AN

ADVANCED

ERA

OF

does not constitute intelligence. Since much of

ARTIFICIAL

present education consisted almost entirely of

INTELLIGENCE

this skill, there will be much to change in our

Life without the need for a job has been

understanding of education.

contemplated on many occasions in the past

Another premise upon which education needs to

[10], but these considerations invariably were

be based is that the only true form of

based on the dubious notion of a voluntary

understanding is deep learning. Deep learning

unemployment. In this analysis of education

requires that learners be able to look for patterns

during an era of advanced artificial intelligence

and underlying principles within information,

we have concluded that there will in fact be

and examine alternate possibilities and ideas.

virtually no work for which humans are best

The importance of this type of learning explains

qualified, or at least no work we decide upon

the paradox noted by Neisser [11] when he

ourselves. Our artificially intelligent masters

observed that individuals who perform well in

may decide they require us to perform certain

academic settings did not necessarily thrive in

tasks, but they will certainly provide us with

real-world settings. Students were not often not

that training. As a result, the education devised

prepared to deal with problems outside an

by humanity for itself need no longer consist of

academic setting as in schools they had learned

training for a job, or the socialization required

only how to solve problems that were 1) well

for adapting to the workplace.

defined 2) already formulated by others 3)

In the absence of the constraints we faced in the

complete in the information required to solve

past due to the need to work, we will once again

the problem 4) defined by one correct answer

discover that the only truly essential skill

and one correct method of arriving at that

humans or any other species need possess is the

answer and 5) simplified in order to make

ability to adapt and respond to change in the

solving the problem easier. By contrast,

everyday, practical problems in non-academic

Different

experiences

settings tend to be unformatted or in need of

knowledge structures, and in the case of the

reframing, contain incomplete information, and

adult mind there have been more experiences

are characterized by multiple possible solutions,

involved in creating the knowledge structures.

with none of the solutions obviously optimal.

However, all students need to participate in the

Education has always, to some degree, been

construction of their own knowledge, and

based on the idea that collective intelligence is

though the teacher may provide the scaffolding

the only form of intelligence that matters to the

for a knowledge set, the learning that results

human race. The death of any one individual

from the scaffolding will depend on how the

does not result in the loss of knowledge for the

students decide to use the knowledge.

species. As Sawyer [12] notes, a common myth

therefore believes that teaching must be

is that the innovation economy is based on a

improvisational. A classroom that is rigidly

few brilliant and creative inventors and

scripted by a single teacher does not allow

entrepreneurs. If this were true, then the role of

students to co-construct their own knowledge

education should be to identity and nurture

by moving in directions perhaps unforeseen by

those few special individuals. In fact, however,

the teacher.

we never know from whom or where an

The teacher-directed classroom begins with the

important new idea will come, and it is

assumption the teacher clearly understands what

therefore in humanitys best interests to ensure

the optimal educational goal is, and a successful

that all individual are nourished and allowed to

student

develop their full potential.

understanding designated by the teacher. As we

The truly remarkable characteristic of collective

have noted, however, knowledge is not static,

intelligence is that it is self-organizing. There is

and a truly effective teacher would need to

no central control in any collective intelligence

predict the direction of movement for a concept

system devised by nature. Humans would be

or a goal, rather than merely identify an existing

wise to accept this simple fact and apply it to

concept or goal. Teaching toward the existing

our educational system. A system devised

goal denies the possibility of innovation and the

around a single teacher serving to organize and

student creating a knowledge structure that

validate knowledge is extremely problematic.

deviates substantially from that of the teacher.

Such a system relies on the idea that a teacher

The best education is always self-directed.

knows the correct answer, and it is the

The optimal education we can provide for

students job to understand the answer. Piaget

young people will therefore take place, as it has

was correct in pointing out that a childs

always taken place, outside of the classroom.

(students) mind is built on different knowledge

Search engines and Internet knowledge pools

structures than an adults (teachers) mind.

already serve as better sources of knowledge

merely

arrives

have

at

shaped

the

those

Sawyer

point

of

than human teachers. We hope that condition

5. CONCLUSIONS

will remain even in an era of advanced artificial

If a species could anticipate what adaptation or

intelligence.

skill set would be required to survive there

What advanced artificial intelligence does not

would be no extinction. Learning the same skill

yet offer, however, is the concept of the

set that was valuable in a past context to the

problem itself. It is the human being that

survival of a species does not guarantee the

assigns value to information and the phenomena

continued success of the species. It is the ability

of nature. It is the human being that recognizes

to change, and conceive of a radically different

problems

future, that allows for the possibility of

to

be

solved.

These

are

not

characteristics of the AI we know today. Google,

continued success.

as AI rather than as a company, does not know

Since adaptation to a changing environment

how to solve problems of poverty, hunger, or

always occurs incrementally, it serves only to

disease, because it does not recognize them as

keep the individual or species in a state of

problems. It merely records their existence, and

equilibrium. When the rate of change becomes

provides the facts that humans use to identify

too rapid or the degree of change too great for

problems. I expect we will need to solve our

previous adaptations to compensate, either

own problems in the future, merely because

extinction or radical evolution occurs. I believe

AI might not understand the nature of our

we are approaching that moment through the

human problems.

development of advanced artificial intelligence.

AI also does not yet understand wisdom, and it

The most successful species are those that

is this concept I hope our future education will

exhibit pre-adaptation. This occurs when a

focus on. Training an animal to do circus tricks

species has developed an adaptation or skill set

does not make the animal more intelligent or

that, by chance, becomes useful in a new

raise

can

environment that did not previously exist. Since

accomplish more than mere circus tricks if we

we can never know what such an environment

focus on raising the consciousness of the human

might be, it is prudent for a species to allow for

species and the search for wisdom. We might

diversity, rather than opting for convenience

choose to define this, as does Vaughan [13], as

and uniformity.

a type of spiritual or existential intelligence,

The simple fact is, species never really know

involving a search for the meaning of life. It

what surprises nature has in store. We can never

may,

as

absolutely define competence for a task until

Sternbergs [14] quest for knowledge mediated

after the fact. Competence is determined by

by values designed to achieve a common good,

what others, including nature, define it to be.

balancing personal and collective needs for the

With a different context, a different audience,

long term benefit of all.

there will be a different level of competence.

its

consciousness.

though,

be

merely

Education

as

prosaic

As Edwin G. Boring [15] concluded in 1923,

Singularity,

intelligence can best be defined as what the

Complex Systems. Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 161-175, 2014.

test

education,

[6] Yampolskiy, Roman V. and Fox, Joshua. Artificial

disassociated from the concept of intelligence,

General Intelligence and the Human Mental Model,

allows us to understand the universe in all its

Singularity Hypothesis: A Scientific and Philosophical

variety, which may have been the reason, as

Assessment. Amnon H. Eden, James H. Moor, Johnny

well as purpose, the universe originally came

H. Soraker, and Eric Steinhart, eds. Springer-Verlag,

into being.

Heidelberg, pp. 129-146, 2012.

The mere fact that we are able to entertain the

[7] Reznikova, Zhanna. Animal Intelligence: From

possibility of a world that is different from our

Individual to Social Cognition. Cambridge, Cambridge

present world gives me hope for the future of

University Press, 2007.

humanity, as this is a skill other biological life

[8]

forms do not seem to possess, and one that

Psychological Foundation of Culture, The Adapted

artificial intelligence has not yet developed. I

Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of

believe it also offers us the opportunity to

Culture. Jerome H. Barkow, ed. Oxford, Oxford

evolve into something more and better than we

University Press, pp. 19-136, 1992

are today, ending our need to engage in trivial

[9]

pursuits regarding jobs. It gives us the freedom

Superintelligence Does Not Imply Benevolence,

to seek the occupation of living a good life.

ECAP10: VIII European Conference on Computing

tests.

Learning

and

Tooby,

Fox,

Interdisciplinary

John

and

Joshua

Description

Cosmides,

and

Leda.

Schulman,

of

The

Carl.

and Philosophy. Klaus Mainz, ed. Verlag, Munich, pp.

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