What’s the Big Idea?
What do elementary pedagogy and artificial intelligence have in common? Leaders in both fields have abandoned the study of the trees for that of the forest.
From preschool through high school, progressive educators have long advocated for project-based learning as against old-school rote memorization. The goal is transferability of knowledge, as opposed to narrow, domain-based learning. Young children, for example, master the principles of addition faster, and can apply them more broadly, by grouping real-world objects than by manipulating numbers on paper.
A similar shift is happening in the field of artificial intelligence. Scientists are significantly improving machine-thinking by reverse-engineering human cognition. According to Ray Kurzweil, a pioneer in voice recognition technology and the author of How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, the future of artificial intelligence is in pattern recognition. The basic algorithms of human thought, Kurzweil says, just aren’t that complicated. From an observation about the weather to a sophisticated joke, cognition at every level operates according to a few simple principles. Researchers have gotten lost, he says, in the diversity and complexity of individual neurons and are missing the bigger picture.
View the Video: Ray Kurzweil on project-based education
Via Lynnette Van Dyke