How China Is Using Artificial Intelligence in Classrooms | WSJ

How China Is Using Artificial Intelligence in Classrooms | WSJ

#China #Artificial #Intelligence #Classrooms #WSJ

– [Presenter] Teachers at this primary school in China– Know exactly when someone isn’t paying attention. These headbands measure each student’s level of concentration. The information is then directly sent to the teacher’s computer and to parents. China has big plans to become a global leader in artificial intelligence. It has enabled a cashless economy, where people make purchases with their faces. A giant network of surveillance cameras with facial recognition helps police monitor citizens. Meanwhile, some schools offer glimpses of what the future

Of high tech education in the country might look like. Classrooms have robots that analyze students’ health and engagement levels. Students wear uniforms with chips that track their locations. There are even surveillance cameras that monitor how often students check their phones or yawn during classes. These gadgets have alarmed Chinese netizens. But, schools say it wasn’t hard for them getting parental consent to enroll kids into what is one of the worlds largest experiments in AI education. A program that’s supposed to boost students’ grades while also feeding powerful algorithms. The government has poured billions of dollars into the project. Bringing together tech giants, start-ups and schools. We got exclusive access to a primary school a few hours outside of Shanghai. To see firsthand how AI tech is being used in the classroom. For this fifth grade class, the day begins with putting on a brain wave sensing gadget. Students then practice meditating. The device is made in China and has three electrodes, two behind the ears and one on the forehead. These sensors pick up electrical signals sent by neurons in the brain. The neural data is then sent in real time to the teacher’s computer, so while students are solving math problems,

A teacher can quickly find out who’s paying attention and who’s not. A report is then generated that shows how well the class was paying attention. It even details each student’s concentration level at 10 minute intervals. It’s then sent to a chat group for parents. The reports are detailed, but whether these devices really work and what they exactly measure isn’t as clear. We were curious if the headbands could actually measure concentration. So, one of our reporters tried on the device. – This is a new technology with, still, fairly little research behind it. – [Presenter] Therodore Zanto is a neural scientist at the University of California San Francisco. He was surprised to learn that this tech, called electroencephalography, also known as EEG, is being used in the classroom on children.

It’s usually used by doctors in hospitals and labs. – [Theodore] EEG is very susceptible to artifacts and so, if you are itchy or just a little fidgety or the EEG wasn’t setup properly, so that the electrodes didn’t have a good contact, effects the signal. – [Presenter] Despite the chances for false readings,

Teachers told us the headbands have forced students to become more disciplined. Teachers say the students now pay better attention during class and that has made them study harder and achieve higher scores. But, not all students are as enthusiastic. This fifth grader, whom we caught dozing off in class, told us his parents punish him for low attention scores and that kind of data adds a new kind of pressure for students. Companies we interviewed said the data can go to government funded research projects. We spoke to parents who were unclear about where the data ended up and they didn’t seem to care too much. Zanto says, there’s likely no privacy protection at all. – [Theodore] The classroom is you’re trying

To make an assessment of an individual student, you really can’t anatomize it. – [Presenter] Experts and citizens alike are sounding alarms about various aspects of the country’s huge push into artificial intelligence. These classrooms are laboratories for future generations and while these new tools may potentially help some two hundred million students raise their grades, just how this all works out won’t be apparent

Until they become adult citizens.

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