There is no doubt we can create computers to find answers faster than humans. We use google or other search engines everyday to help with this. Many websites use artificial intelligence as part of their ‘chat with us’ function. IBM’s famous ‘Watson’ project has been working alongside doctors and nurses in healthcare for decades. AI creates art, writes stories and poetry, and helps us fix cars. AI is part of our everyday life.
And yet, when we think back to our school days and the teachers who inspired us or played meaningful roles in our lives, rarely do we remember the ‘what’ they taught us. Much of our memory will be about the how. How they taught us, how they treated us, how they interacted with us. The ‘how’ speaks much more to ‘who’ they are. The relational and emotional aspects of being human.
Now, we’ve all had teachers along the way who are not memorable. Or are memorable because they were more robot than human. And that too is interesting as we, as humans, crave relational engagement.
Unfortunately, too often the conversations around AI are narrow. They view an interaction as transactional and solely about the sharing of information or knowledge. Teaching is viewed as the ‘pouring of information into an empty vessel’ as Paulo Friere argued against years ago. Teaching, in all its forms, is much more than sharing informaiton. At its heart, it is relational.
AI can help us find answers. It can provide us with information. However, I am not sure it can provide us wisdom. Wisdom tends to require relationship. AI is not there yet. (And I say ‘yet’ because I do not know the future.)