Things are changing. I’m afraid change can’t be stop, particularly nowadays when the distance between people can be reduced with a touch of a screen. Various technological innovations have become part of our life, and it’s quite difficult to imagine how life would be without them. We’ve become so used to them that we tend to use them every time we face a challenge. We choose the easiest way. We choose technology to solve it for us, or, maybe as some of us would like to put it, to let technology help us solve the problem. Either way, we gradually become more and more dependent on technological assistance.
It is quite challenging to say whether it is good or bad. I don’t think it is possible to take only one side in the debate. Just like in every walk of life the truth is somewhere in the middle. Undeniably, technology has brought so many benefits to our life, the way drugs did (i.e. medicines). But if we read the prescription, we also see the side effects the drug might have. The same can be said about technology. It’s the 21st century drug administered to us with no apparent prescription. Who is to worn us about its side effects then?
Actually, quite a number of people try to draw our attention to the side effects AI is bringing into our life. The most alarming warnings come from neuroscientists, people studying our brain (actually the way neurons interact in the brain). The prognosis they make looks far from optimistic if we continue to act with the same recklessness as we do now. Their prognosis can be displayed in the popular funny picture which can be easily found on the Internet.
Yet, it’s funny to a certain extent. This regression might be not that far away. We, as human beings, should always strive to develop our brain, rack our brain. I was once curious to see what the origin of this idiom was, and I read that the rack was a medieval torture instrument. The verb was used to mean to cause pain and anguish. The irony is that nowadays, the process of thinking might be viewed as one extremely painful, a real torture. Why bother, if you can rely on AI? Why develop higher order thinking skills if you need just basic to live in the illusion of perfect bliss.Why think (i.e. do some mental activity, make some extra effort) if AI can think for you?
As a language educator, I was interested (and still am) how it is possible to integrate technology into the classroom. Yet, now I don’t show that much enthusiasm about it. There is evidence that technology-free classrooms might perform better in exams. Another ample study found out that using computers at school might not result in students’ high performance. What is more, it appeared that students who used computers more had both lower reading and lower math scores.
Indeed, a teacher should be very careful when considering to integrate technology into the education process. It should not be a mere fashionable tool to use. The teacher should ask themselves: ‘Is it going to help me realize my goals? Is it the best way of doing it? What would be the drawbacks (i.e. side effects) of applying it in my teaching?’
The issue of technology integration in the education process should be thoroughly considered. Nowadays, Isaac Asimov’s warnings in his short story The Fun The Had do not seem so frightening. The danger is that humanity might lose its thinking capacity altogether. I’m not sure AI would need us 🙂
To cut a long story short, we should be responsible technology consumers, both inside and outside the classroom. It can be extremely useful if administered in small doses. Yet, excess might lead to fatal consequences. Actually, excess is always fatal.