Robots in the Classroom: Can/Will They Replace Teachers? They’re HEEEERE.
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Industries employing workers making minimum wage are discovering robots can replace human beings to perform duties, saving the company money. From Building robot McDonald’s staff ‘cheaper’ than hiring workers on minimum wage in The Mirror:
A former McDonald’s CEO warned that robots will take over staff jobs at the fast food empire – because it’s cheaper than employing humans.
Ed Rensi has said that buying highly skilled robotics is a cheaper alternative than employing people on minimum wage to work in the company’s worldwide restaurants.
He warned that huge job losses are imminent, and commented that it would be ‘common sense’ to replace humans in the workplace.
This comes as a study into the future of human employment has predicted a surge in machine-led work such as robotic counsellors, body part makers and virtual lawyers.
Watch the accompanying video showing how efficient robots are in their duties. A new Industrial Revolution is outsourcing humans in the job market and that includes teachers.
Robots are already teaching and data mining in some classrooms and are touted as being excellent resources for special need students. From https://asknao.aldebaran.com/:
The youtube video can be found here:
The youtube video (above) can be found here. The robot costs $65,000 (according to the reporters) and requires no health care coverage or pensions:
The robot is being used in a special school district in New York City:
From a 2009 blog about a TED talk and the coming of the robots in Rebooting: Bill Gates:
How do you get the crowd ready to listen to Bill Gates?
Well, you could try a little music. Naturally 7, a soul/blues/gospel septet gets the crowd excited in the Long Beach Auditorium, a big, beautiful space that fits everyone actually attending the conference – a huge change from the Monterrey venue so many of us are used to.
You can also offer some drool-worthy tech, like Dr. David Hanson’s robots. Hanson Robotics focuses on creating extremely realistic robots, with a full range of facial expressions. Using a new plastic he calls Frubber, the robots are able to offer facial expressions using 1/23rd of the power of comparable robots. As a result, the robots use very small batteries and are lightweight, which means they can be mounted bipedally. Working with the Korean Institute of Advanced Science and Technology, Hanson built an expressive, bipedal robot… which is a deeply uncanny thing to look at.
The work we need to make more exressive robots, Hanson believes, is a combination of robotics, mechanical engineering, AI, materials science, artistry and manufacturing. His demonstration of a robot that takes advantage of innovations in all these spaces is an android “portrait” of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Using his writings and letters, you can converse with a realistic-looking version of Dick, and have conversations that sound a great deal like the great writer.
The demo that catches everyone’s attention is a bust of Einstein that reacts to Hanson’s facial expressions. He smiles at it, and it smiles back. His goal is to build a complex enough character engine that the robots know who you are, what you’re feeling and your relationship to the robot. This will allow people to have an empathetic relationship with machines, relating to machines in a more natural way. The consumer product Hanson is developing is called Zeno, and it’s a japanime-style robot designed as a “spokesbot for friendly machine intelligence” – it’s designed to be a “childhood companion” with a rich character and world for the child to explore with the robot. It’s hard to say if this is little more than the next Aibo, but Hanson’s Einstein is disturbingly lifelike, and it’s not hard to imagine Zeno being an impressive piece of work.
If the robots from the previous videos appear too robotic, here are more human-like robots from Hanson Robotics:
Note Aldebaran writes that the robots can be aligned to core-aligned applications and can monitor progress through data collection and graph results . Would the programming of robots include aligning curriculum/teaching to Common Core State Standards aligned curriculum and data sets? If teachers are now classified as guides on the side and teaching is to be student centered rather than teacher centered, do you think that many teachers can and/or will be replaced by robots? School districts are facing increasing financial burdens. Would reducing human teachers in favor of robots a possibility for school boards to consider?
The fast food industry (it’s not just McDonald’s) is using robots to save money and increase efficiency. The current teacher robots are used for students with special needs. Will there be an expansion of robot teachers in the general education population in the future as automated education industry expands? More and more students are learning from iPads and online platforms. Why not expand the mechanization of education into the teaching profession to actually replace teachers? What would be the argument against replacing human beings with robots? School district budgets are stretched and if certain teaching jobs could be replaced by robots who require no sick time or pensions, is it surprising that this might be a viable option?
Are the NEA and AFT concerned about their members being replaced? Is teaching an endangered profession? Maybe the term present in the CCSS goal of a teacher evolving from a sage on the stage into a guide on the side will occur but not in the manner envisioned by the reformers. From the Aldebaran site:
We’ll be writing more about robots in the classroom in the future. What data are the robots collecting? Who is funding the expansion of robots in education? Stay tuned.