AI Can’t Replace Teaching, but It Can Make It Better

Science teacher Daniel Thompson circulated among his sixth graders at Ron Clark Academy, in Atlanta, on a recent spring morning, spot-checking their work and leading them into discussions about the day’s lessons on weather and water. He had a helper: a voice-activated AI that summoned apps and educational videos onto large-screen smartboards.

When a student asked, “Are there any animals that don’t need water?” Thompson put the question to the AI. Within seconds, an illustrated blurb about kangaroo rats appeared before the class.

Thompson’s voice-activated assistant, Origin, is the brainchild of computer scientist Satya Nitta, who founded a company called Merlyn Mind after many years at IBM, where he had tried,

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