A prestigious private school has named a new AI bot as “principal headteacher.” We have lived to see the day when AI took the place of a teacher. Here’s what we know.
Who appointed an AI bot as a headmaster?
Cottesmore School, a boarding prep school in West Sussex, collaborated with an artificial intelligence developer to build ‘Abigail Bailey,’ a bot built specifically to aid the totally human headteacher, Tom Rogerson.
What all can the AI bot help with?
It may sound like something out of Charlie Brooker’s mind, but Rogerson insists it’s a great idea and told The Telegraph that AI Abigail is on hand to give advice on a variety of issues, including how to support school staff members, write school policies, and even help students with ADHD.
“Sometimes having someone or something there to help you is a very calming influence,” he told the publication. “It’s nice to know that someone who is extremely well trained is there to assist you in making decisions.”
“That doesn’t mean you never seek advice from humans.” You, of course, do. It’s just incredibly peaceful and encouraging to know that you don’t have to call anyone, worry anyone, or wait around for a response.”
Why was the bot created?
Abigail functions similarly to the popular ChatGPT AI service in that it can answer queries or generate content depending on various cues.
According to Rogerson, the AI bot has been expressly created to ‘have a plethora of knowledge in machine learning’ and to analyse ‘huge volumes of data’ swiftly. Fancy. “Being a school leader, a headmaster, is a very lonely job,” he remarked.
Of course, we have head teacher groups… but just knowing that someone or something is available to assist you in this lonely area is incredibly encouraging.”
Cottesmore is a mixed day and boarding school for children ages four to thirteen, with annual fees of up to nearly £32,000; it has previously been named Tatler’s “Prep School of the Year.”
How will it shape the future of teaching?
Rogerson believes that in the future, state schools will use the publicly available online robot as well.
Moreover, despite the fact that Abigail serves as his right-hand woman/AI bot, Rogerson claims that robots and technology will not replace his instructors and that the school now has more (totally human) staff members than ever before.
“We are moving forward while preserving the core values of traditional education,” he remarked. “The introduction of AI is not about replacing our dedicated educators but about augmenting their capabilities and ensuring our students receive the best education possible.”
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