Beats | March 22, 2017

Can artificial intelligence help Johnny learn?

The team at


“Quality education will always require active engagement by human teacher,” write researchers from the Stanford One Hundred Study on Artificial Intelligence.

But artificial intelligence will inform the teaching processes of the future as pressure builds on educators to “contain costs while serving a larger number of students and moving students through school more quickly.”

This week, ImpactAlpha is extracting nuggets from Stanford’s century-long effort to understand AI’s long-term possibilities and dangers.

Hard evidence as to how effective AI-driven learning tools are is scant at this stage, but the researchers say technology has the potential to move the needle in education by driving “personalization” at scale.

Personalization is often touted as the key to expanding education access and narrowing achievement and skill gaps.

Big backers like Microsoft, Google and Facebook are backing learning platforms and software solutions.

Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs), where audiences number in the tens of thousands, are serving as wells of data on student comprehension, writing, knowledge acquisition, and memory.

Stanford and Columbia universities are exploring virtual-reality applications in the humanities and social sciences. Think immersive archaeology.

In the next fifteen years, sophisticated virtual reality scenarios will let students “immerse themselves in subjects from all disciplines,” the researchers say.

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha’s daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

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