Computer science education revolutionized: Harvard introduces its AI chatbot
Harvard, the world-renowned academic institution, has announced that the new computer science teacher will be an AI chatbot. This innovation represents a significant change to the school's introductory computer science course, known as CS50.
Artificial Intelligence for personalized teaching
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an official learning tool was announced by CS50 professor, David Malan, who shared the news via an email release. According to Malan, students will have the ability to use AI to answer personal questions, spot bugs in their code, and understand error messages. The main goal is to personalize the educational experience, a function where AI shows its greatest potential.
In his release, Malan said, “Our hope is that, through artificial intelligence, we can eventually approximate a 1:1 teacher:student ratio for every student…”. This could allow for tailoring learning experiences, addressing individual strengths and weaknesses, and optimizing learning styles.
A radical change of policy
Through the end of the 2022 fall semester, Harvard did not have an AI policy. The new strategy, however, excludes the use of well-known programs such as ChatGPT or GitHub Copilot, which Malan describes as "currently too useful". Instead, the “CS50 bot” will guide students towards an answer rather than providing it directly, encouraging a more active approach to learning.
Criticality of the use of AI and future prospects
Despite its promises, the use of AI also presents challenges. Malan emphasized that students should "always think critically" when it comes to the information presented. He likens the critical approach to AI to “drinking responsibly” when it comes to alcohol: just as people shouldn't blindly trust what a tool (even a non-AI) says, so too in the case of AI it is crucial to maintain a critical thinking.
Bill Gates says AI, however, is set to become as much a mainstay of education as using the internet for research. This innovation will revolutionize not only education but also the global economy. The vision of the future is clear: an era of “AI for all” is on the horizon, promising radical and lasting changes.