A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights something terribly important in our world system. China is experimenting with artificial intelligence (AI) to see how it can improve education. My take on it is that they have created the digital boogeyman without realizing it.
According to Wikipedia, the boogeyman is a mythical creature used by adults to frighten children into good behavior. The Boogeyman has no specific appearance, and conceptions vary drastically by household and culture but is commonly depicted as a masculine or androgynous monster that punishes children for misbehavior. Boogeymen may target a specific act or general misbehavior, depending on what purpose needs serving, often based on a warning from the child’s authority figure.
Yep, that is how I used it when my daughters would sneak out of their room to play with each other when they should have been staying in bed. I told them that the boogeyman hid under the bed and would grab their ankles. I know, I am now going to be blocked for something I did over 45 years ago thinking it was a silly way to get better behavior. I also remember being told some things would make me go blind as a kid… so there!
Well, China has upped the game with just that. Read the WSJ article.
Their plan is to use AI to increase the performance of the 200 million students in school and it appears to be working… at least in part. Can they and will they truly understand how much of this is the boogeyman effect vs. studying brain waves? Or, could it just be that they are using something parents want for their kids? aka a better education and a hope for a brighter future… to get them to permit this intrusive Orwellian approach?
After all, it may not be the AI at all that is behind the improvements. It could just be the myth itself. But, in the process of saying they were just studying children’s learning, they have unleashed the full power of AI to track human behavior! Watch the link carefully. Think about it.
Are we moving in the same direction with our data analysis? Might Amazon suggest you stop buying certain things because they were harmful to your health?