No, artificial intelligence is not just about robots. Of course, it would be interesting to design the second Sophia and to trust her with your company. But you never know what would happen next…
The solution we offer is simpler and more down-to-earth. Also, it is more cost efficient.
In fact, artificial intelligence is everything from a spam filter in your e-mail box to a smart personal assistant like Siri or Cortana or a smart system recognizing your face when you are taking a portrait photo with your iPhone.
Chatbots, data analysis and forecasting platforms, surveillance and security systems, and even newsfeed personalization services – all these employ machine intelligence to serve the best needs of their users. AI is actively used in e-commerce, marketing, finances, and business management. Less but still quite often, it is used among educators. But how can your educational company benefit from AI?
Before We Start: Artificial Intelligence FAQ
What is AI?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is any computer-based system that performs cognitive tasks, which are usually associated with humans, in particular, learning, decision-making, and problem-solving.
What is big data?
Big data is a general name of data sets that are too large and complex to be processed with the help of simple algorithms. Big data requires more sophisticated data analysis algorithms or machine learning systems to be understood.
What is general and narrow AI?
General AI is an artificial intelligence system that closely resembles the human mind. It is rather a dystopian concept, which does not yet exist and is not likely to emerge in the near future. Narrow AI is an artificial intelligence system taught to perform one particular cognitive task. Basically, all the currently existing AI systems are narrow.
What is machine learning?
Machine learning is a computer system not only following a set of prescribed rules but learning and developing itself in the process of data collection and analysis. A machine learning algorithm needs to be provided with sufficient initial data. Based on the analysis of it, it can learn to solve problems, and each time, the solutions will be better and found faster.
What is a neural network?
Neural networks are AI systems, designed to resemble the neural structure of the human brain. Neural networks consist of layers of artificial neurons – “nodes”. Each node gets data from the upper-layer node and passes it down to the lower-layer node. Each unit of data is assigned with a certain value, which defines whether it can be passed on.
The Most Important Thing to Understand: AI Is Not Necessarily Difficult
AI is not necessarily a sci-fi miracle. It can be a simple back-end algorithm letting the application serve a certain complex function. It does not necessarily have to be developed from scratch. Instead, there are a lot of ready-made solutions used by developers. For instance, a chatbot is a simple form of AI based on Natural Language Understanding (NLU) algorithms.
NLU is an AI approach aimed to recognize text or speech sentences with the use of computer software. NLU enables direct communication with a computer, while the latter one can statically interpret human language. NLU algorithms employ machine learning to carry out and constantly improve semantic parsing and grammar engineering.
Natural Language Understanding is employed by Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant. NLU is actively used in social media interactions, marketing, content management, business and finances, and for personal use. This solution is effective and easy to implement, so it is a win-win situation for both business and its customers.
More than that, it does not require a developer to reinvent the wheel as there are a lot of ready-made solutions. The list of existing NLU services includes IBM Watson Conversation, Google NL, Amazon Lex, SAP Conversational AI, Microsoft LUIS, SNIPS API, Wit.ai, Dialogflow.
Yet, nobody has promised that NLU development would be a hundred percent free of challenges. The process can be complicated by language, speech, or subject ambiguities, which sometimes may be difficult or impossible to overcome.
Artificial Intelligence for Business
To monitor the progress of your app throughout different market segments, you need to automate your data collection and analysis processes, and AI is the most convenient and efficient way to do so. AI algorithms can be used to analyze current statistics or to make forecasts for the future of education. With the help of machine learning, these predictions are to become more and more accurate over time.
Another time-consuming process the AI can help you monitor is your CRM (customer relations manager) system. You can employ a chatbot to answer the questions and requests of your users. Your customers will appreciate the 24/7 assistance that the chatbots provide.
Eventually, one day, artificial intelligence is going to grow from an opportunity to the absolute necessity. Employing the latest technologies will show you as someone who is open to changes and progress-oriented. This may indeed make your business more appealing to your users, investors, and competitors.
Your educational business is going to grow if your customers benefit from it. Your users may vary from students and self-learners to teachers and education administrators. So, let’s see how AI in education can benefit your target audience.
Artificial Intelligence for Learners
Nothing is scarier for a learner than to miss a deadline of an assignment given by a strict professor. Missing deadlines is not the best experience even for those who take up self-learning courses. With the use of AI advancements, a chatbot can be developed, which would remind learners about due dates or meetings. They will also be able to ask the chatbot about when their lectures start or how long it is until the holidays.
Knowing that one badly falls behind peers can motivate a student to work hard. Knowing that they do better than the others can motivate them to work even harder. Whatever the results are, one should be fully aware of them, and AI-enhanced software will help them keep track of marks.
For the self-learners, AI software offers a great opportunity for a quick self-assessment. For instance, if one is learning a new foreign language, the AI software can be used to define their language comprehension level. Storing and comparing the results over time is the best way for a learner to see the progress and to stay motivated. Artificial intelligence can also diagnose gaps in knowledge, which would make the learning process more customized and let the learner advance even faster.
Another troublesome aspect of education is accessing resources as today's students want to instantly get all the answers. Marketing specialists around the world acknowledge the fact that patience is not a virtue of millennials and younger generations. You will rarely see one in a library flicking through numerous books. They google the information. Instead of searching for an unknown word in the dictionary, they use Google Translator. Instead of signing up for a course, they watch a YouTube tutorial. Artificial intelligence gives you a unique opportunity to provide your users with all the relevant content, which can be customized for each student. This tool will also let users store their personal information in the most convenient way and to access it anytime.
Artificial intelligence can be used to improve remote learning processes as it lets one break the ties with a traditional classroom. One can access learning courses anytime and from anywhere, connect with people studying the same subject or making the same mistakes, and talk to them in chat or via a video-call. AI tools can help one find similar learners nearby to start studying in groups if they want to.
Another crucially important need that artificial intelligence in education can serve is the mental wellbeing of a user. If the AI registers some trigger words, such as “suicide”, “die”, “kill”, or “hopeless”, the conversations with a chatbot can be shared with the school mental health council in order to provide the student with a timely and so badly needed assistance.
AI for Educators: More Time to Be Creative
Sparing teachers the duty to do all the administrative job would greatly facilitate their lives and let them pay more attention to creative work and theoretical lectures. Doing the paperwork, marking papers, or recording students attendance has little to no learning value but takes a great deal of time and effort. However, the tasks can be redistributed, and the AI would perfectly serve administrative purposes.
Artificial intelligence also can be used to develop a plagiarism checker, which is an important part of the schooling process. Most commercial plag checkers are expensive, while the free ones are barely effective. This market niche is not yet overcrowded, and developing a plag checker would be a great idea for both a business and an educational institution. Also, one may develop a grammar checker similar to Grammarly, which would definitely be in high demand among both students and teachers.
Another time- and emotion-consuming activity placed upon teachers is providing feedback to students. It takes effort for an educator to give a neutral, polite, and helpful feedback, which would not affect one’s self-image or attitude to studying. For the teachers who are still at the beginning of their career, this task is barely possible. However, if trusted to artificial intelligence, this job is to become seamless and trouble-free.
Finally, organizing students in project groups can be difficult especially when the attendance is low. Artificial intelligence can do all the job automatically and notify each student about the group they are assigned to work with, about their tasks, resources, and deadlines. All the organizational tasks can be done by a computer while the teacher would get more time to interact with the students and to engage in their projects.
AI for Education Systems: Facilitating and Optimizing Data Analysis
System-facing tools are aimed at improving the overall system of education. While waiting for the government to take some positive action can be long and hopeless, one can drive an important change by developing an education management system and offer the ready-made product to the officials.
Such a global surveillance system of educational institutions is an innovation in education, but it would become an important tool in the pursuit of comparing different schools in terms of attendance and student performance. It will help to analyze the education system efficiency across different districts and regions.
Artificial intelligence is a technology changing education, and it will help to find out whether all students are provided with equal learning opportunities. It will also help to understand which ones need the most urgent help, and which ones have a surplus of resources. All of this would allow to reallocate resources more efficiently, which in the long-run would have a positive impact on the employment market and the socio-economic equality in society.
Finally, the prospect of smart schools seems to be very likely and quite promising, but it is definitely impossible without the use of artificial intelligence. Smart schools are the future of education, and they will greatly improve the learning and teaching experience, but they would require an immense amount of work to be done. If you are ready to take up such a complex and expensive challenge, consider entering this niche while it is still almost vacant. You would have to invest a huge deal of resources, but if successful, it would become the project of your life.
What Are the Pitfalls?
The first and foremost concern associated with AI software is data security. For the AI system to be perfectly functioning, a huge amount of data needs to be constantly processed. Data breaches and leaks are a huge problem in today’s era since the information has become the most valuable asset. Yet, a conscientious software development team would make sure that your data is safe.
Another problem is associated with the accessibility and affordability of AI systems. Introducing AI in education is definitely more expensive than web development. It requires specialists in a narrower field to be employed, and their rate is usually much higher. More than that, AI development usually takes more time than the development of a regular web or mobile software.
Besides, while implementing artificial intelligence in higher education, pedagogical proficiency is a must. Technical expertise and educational expertise are equally important, and the project is bound to fail unless there are professionals in both areas. According to Carla Aerts, “Edtech is often not informed by pedagogy and the design of interfaces often lack user-centricity - putting hurdles in the way of teachers, rather than empowering Them”, as cited by Nesta’s Educ-AI-tion Rebooted? Report.
Otherwise, the app may turn out to offer a “one-size-fits-all” learning strategy, which would not take into account the particular needs of each student and would provide little educational benefit.
Nonetheless, all these challenges can be prevented or solved with the help of a proficient team, thorough preparation, and sound research. In fact, these difficulties can occur while you are working with any software development technology. Meanwhile, AI and education go hand-in-hand, and the benefits that AI provides are one-of-a-kind – no other technological approach or solution offers as many business benefits or opportunities as artificial intelligence does.
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Is there an educational business challenge that you think can be solved with an outstanding AI solution?
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