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Teach Children the Things That Machines Cannot Learn


I often talk about teaching children to learn what machines cannot learn. Our system of education was created in the Industrial Revolution, and is based upon kids being stuffed with facts, stats and dates. They learn to parrot-fashion repeat things, and are tested to see if they can remember. It’s a very poor state of affairs.

Machines can learn everything except emotions. That’s what we need to teach our kids. Emotions and the things that machines cannot learn.

I’ve seen machines that can write poetry and produce art, but it’s not real. It’s an imitation and this is where I see the rich future for humanity: emotional intelligence. This is why we need our children to learn empathy, emotion, creativity and ideas. The things that machines cannot learn.

I often talk about a future where the jobs will be things that involve emotions, such as leveraged buy outs and counselling. Areas where the human heart are most in focus, and where machines lack the emotional intelligence to provide effective support. A machine can deal with facts, but can it deal with feelings?

Maybe I’m wrong and maybe one day machines will pass the Turin test and we won’t be able to distinguish between a machine and a human, but I like to believe that the future of humanity is one where we deal with humanity. Can a machine pass for a human in such a world? Will the world of Her come true? Is our future going to be relationships with bits and bytes or skin and flesh?

And sure, I know it’s Friday morning and this is a bit deep, but I do wrestle regularly with the nature of technology. Technology is our new relationship. We have a love of our phone. We are more attached to our phone than our partner. My life is held in the palm of my hand and, if you took it, what do I do?

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I spend my days and evenings staring at screens, and my screen knows me better than my partner. It  has no warmth, no love and no heart to give back, but it’s there 24*7 and allows me to immerse myself in a global network of ideas and entertainment.

We are all strangers in a strange land, living our lives on the network and connecting digitally, globally with everyone. I wake up regularly and find my best friends are people I’ve never met. Is this our world? Is this how it is?

So it’s Friday and it’s November and I’m just wondering about machines, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Do we want machines to learn everything about us? Do we want machines to know us better than we know ourselves? And do we want machines to learn things that make our children redundant?

Teach children the things that machines cannot learn. Let our humanity shine bright, whilst we create an automated world that allows us to live better, smarter and more rich lives. But teach children things that machines cannot learn. Otherwise, what is the role of us?

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