Artificial Intelligence for social change

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data and machine learning have all come under fire in some corners for potentially exposing humanity to unknown dangers. It makes sense because we don’t understand it as much as we have invested in current known and familiar systems. In recent times, AI and Big Data have been utilised in education for more effective learning and teaching. There are also some controlled tests in the farming industry where we may soon see more innovations.
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In a white paper by Pearson called Intelligence Unleashed An argument for AI in Education, the team delves into learning systems that are driven by Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIEd) to shed light into the topic. They also take the reader into some benefits of AIEd and how it is currently being used in cutting-edge learning systems.

One of the massive advantages to utilising Big Data and machine learning, unlike analysing test scores and attendance registers, is that the software can learn a student’s behaviour while it teaches and tests the individual. AIEd alongside Big Data analysis enable education to compare students with peers globally, to build on successes and teach in ways that each individual student learns more successfully.

The educational and data mining incorporated within AIEd also assists in creating early warning signs in the student’s career, where according to Intelligence Unleashed An argument for AI in Education “collecting data on class attendance and assignment submission in order to identify (and provide support) to students at risk of abandoning their studies”. The paper further sheds light into how AIEd can be used for effective one-to-one tutoring through what is known as the Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS).

Madalina Irimia, and IBM analyst writes that it is estimated that by 2020 over 75 million agricultural IoT devices will be in use in farms, while the average farm is expected to generate an average of 4.1 million data points every day in 2050. This will see an increase from 190 000 in 2014. The growth of connected devices may also contribute towards food security and the ability to monitor both soil and seed quality.

When used properly, AI and Big Data can move humanity much further than what we’ve explored. We have mostly experimented with machine learning and Big Data for business, which has seen rapid improvement within a short space. Inasmuch as we need to regulate and monitor the uses of AI, we also need to be open to the possibilities that it presents.