Current technology is not far from ushering in a new paradigm of human learning, said Google’s vice-president of research Alfred Spector at a recent conference in New York. Information technology such as smartphones and artificially intelligent apps not only change the way we interact with knowledge, but they may change the nature and purpose of educational institutions as a whole. 

In his speech, Spector pointed to research suggesting that anyone of average intelligence could reach the top two percent of their academic class if a personal tutor helped adjust their lessons to suit their individual learning needs. As technology becomes more responsive to humans' natural language, the door may open to personalized tutors for everyone in the form of an app. Spector also pointed out that learning is much more fun today than every before. The combination of entertainment, i.e. video games, with learning strategies is helping to remove some of the drudgery from rote memorization. 

Might schools even become a thing of the past? Spector believes so:

"In the past it seemed you had to go to a school to get formal education – there was no choice but to go to isolated places to be educated, but now we don’t have to do that. We may choose to but we don’t have to."

Representing the opposition is Dr. Madhav Chavan. In his Big Think interview, Dr. Chavan argues that, even assuming one-hundred percent connectivity to the Internet, learning is necessarily a linear experience. We need to learn certain things at certain times, meaning that heavy restrictions will always be placed on technology:

Read more at BBC Future

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