25 March 2018

Be nimble...be quick

I love Seth Godin's stuff - he states the obvious and then you say to yourself 'Why didn't I think of that?' While he writes primarily about marketing and business he is essentially a futurist, and we need to be listening.

Godin's latest blog post 'You will not be surprised' says it all about artificial intelligence. The automation of human activity is facinating. However, Seth says 'not so much'. Why?

'because it's incremental. Every time a computer takes over a job we never imagined a computer can do, it happens so gradually that by the time it's complete, we're not the slightest bit amazed. We now have computers that can play chess, read x-rays, drive down the highway at 55 miles an hour, understand our voice, scan documents for errors, do all traditional banking chores, correct our spelling, plot a route on foot or by plane, find the cheapest airfares and pick a face out of a crowd. At any time since 1970, if you went to live on a desert island for a decade, you would have been blown away by what happened when you got back. Day by day, though, human-only tasks quietly disappear. After the replacement, computers do some of these jobs better than we ever could, but, as they're evolving, we take each of these perfections and advancements for granted. It's too gradual to be awe-inspiring.'

We need to be careful we're not simply watching the story unfold. We need to be in the story ensuring we can think and act flexibly, ingenuously, ethically, nimbly and quickly.

This learning starts at home, then in school - it starts in our homes and school.

In lots of ways our school looks and feels like the primary school I went to in the '70s; and in many more ways, it looks nothing like it.

On any day I observe children using technology (both old and new) to solve problems we never heard of thirty years ago. There are Spheros for art work and directional knowledge, Edisons for measuring perimeter and area, iPads to explain everything and collaborate with their friends who are also explaining everything, Bots for spatial learning, whiteboards to draw and look at their thinking, ear buds for quiet problem solving, drones for learning careers of the future, Minecraft for mapping, history and just about everything else. Yes, nothing here that looks like the seventies.

Artificial intelligence isn't coming; it's here. Are we just going to watch it and say 'wow, that's amazing!' Or are we going to participate in its evolution? If, we are, we need to be nimble, and quick

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