Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence | Garrett Smiley | 4 Min Read

Traditional school is not even preparing students for this modern world, let alone for the bizarre
sci-fi future that’s about to knock down our door.

July 19, 2023

AI is the Swiss Army knife that will replace all other tools. Right now, it’s helping us tidy up our data, proofread our emails, and whip up some stunning graphics. But soon, it’s going to take over entire jobs. One day, a civil engineer won’t just use AI to test their blueprints or create snazzy 3D models like they are now; they’ll just blurt out what they need and get a bunch of ready-to-go projects to choose from. And it won’t stop there. A couple of generations down the line, AI and its robot minions will be the ones building the bridges.

Swiss army knife phone with picture of child holding strings on screen

Now, this might sound scary, like a bad episode of Black Mirror. But hold onto your hats, because it’s actually going to be awesome. Instead of thousands of people breaking their backs to build something like the Golden Gate Bridge, we could just collectively decide we want it, and our robot army will make it happen. And it’ll be done before you can say “Skynet.” Remember how Edison said genius was 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration? Well, AI’s about to flip that on its head. The real bottleneck now is inspiration. Good ideas just became gold, and with this power, we’re going to reshape the world so fast it’ll make your head spin.

But there’s a catch. In a world where the cost of building new stuff approaches zero, we still must decide how to use our limited resources and attention. Should we demolish the Empire State Building to make room for a giant water park? Do we need a single-payer healthcare system? Should we invade Canada for fun? (Just kidding, Canada. We love you.) These are decisions AI can’t make for us because machines don’t understand what it’s like to be human. They won’t know what it feels like to stroll down a beautiful boulevard, to hear Beethoven’s Ninth, or to lose someone they love. They’ll understand how our bodies work, but they won’t know what it means to be us.


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ET Magazine column

(ET) Magazine is dedicated to providing the information and context necessary to advance the efficacy of technology used in education. Our articles are carefully selected by our editorial advisory board and are written by the finest minds in the world of EdTech. Staff members have been assembled from the fields of education and publishing (and in most cases, both) and represent decades of unassailable dedication.