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Artificial intelligence (AI) in education is not new. The pioneers of AI during the 1950s were cognitive scientists who were directly involved in education research (Doroudi, 2023). However, there needs to be closer inspection on the vast potential of AI on the impact of the future of education. This blog post briefly explores the emergence of AI in education and its implications for the future of education.

AI in education has been identified as a key tool to increase educational efficiency due to the demand from nations to cater for the expanding economy (Kopp & Thomsen, 2023). To illustrate, Oak National Academy in England is set to receive an additional £2 million from the UK government to develop a personalised AI-enabled lesson-planning assistant to reduce the workload of teachers (Martin, 2023). Major tech corporations operating in the domain of education continue to refashion their products and services by including elements of AI. For example, Google For Education is introducing a set of AI-powered tools, such as AI-generated questions and learning analytics, to enhance the teaching and learning process. While Khan Academy, a popular American non-profit educational organisation, launched Khanmigo, with the tagline ‘world class AI for education’, a chatbot that acts a ‘supertutor’ by allowing students to chat with AI-driven history figures (such as Einstein) and literary characters (like Hamlet). This uptake of AI in education draws attention to a quote by Andreas Schleicher, the Director of the Directorate of Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), who said:

‘The bottom line is, if we want to stay ahead of technological developments, we have to find and refine the qualities that are unique to our humanity, and that complement, not compete with, capacities we have created in our computers, schools need to develop first-class humans, not second-class robots’ (quoted in Watson 2021).

The distinction between ‘first-class humans’ and ‘second-class robots’ resonates with a recent comment made by Sam Altman, the OpenAI CEO, that artificial general intelligence (AGI) (currently being developed) can surpass the average human intelligence. Unlike AI where the machine learns as humans feed more information to it, AGI is able to recognise when it does not know something and would be then able to seek out new information on its own. In essence, AGI is able to teach itself.

Altman claimed that AGI can very possibly replace the ‘median human’, a subjective term, lacking concrete evidence, used by those who are in the tech bubble to classify humans with a ‘medium level of intelligence’. Both statements by Schleicher (2022) and Altman (2023) raise an important question on the impact of AI on humans – in a world shaped by AI, are humans being dehumanised? Elfert (2023, p. 410) would argue such dehumanising tendencies (humans as ‘second-class robots’ or the ‘median’ human) is because ‘an all-pervasive technological society is taking hold that represents a power that will be hard to resist as it is invisible, unaccountable, and not committed to democratic principles or an enlightened citizenry’.

‘In a world shaped by AI, are humans being dehumanised?’

It is important, therefore, for researchers to scrutinise the development of AI by returning to democratic ideals, which entails developing and governing AI through transparency, inclusivity and fairness, and in an environment that is ethically regulated between governments, industry, academia and civil society. With the rapid development of AI, it is vital to pay closer attention to its implications on the future of education and more broadly, on human relationships. The transformation of AI in education systems should be one framed within a collective spirit as education has the most transformational potential to ensure human progress and sustainability (Miller, 2018).


Altman, S. (2023, October 21). OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and CTO Mira Murati on the future of AI and ChatGPT. YouTube [Video].

Doroudi, S. (2023). The intertwined histories of artificial intelligence and education. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 33, 885–928.  

Elfert, M. (2023). Humanism and democracy in comparative education. Comparative Education, 59(3), 398–415.

Kopp, W., & Thomsen, B. S. (2023, May 1). How AI can accelerate students’ holistic development and make teaching more fulfilling. World Economic Forum.  

Martin, M. (2023, October 30). Oak to get ‘up to £2m’ to develop AI teacher assistants. TES Magazine.

Miller, R. (2018). Transforming the future: Anticipation in the 21st century. Taylor & Francis.

Schleicher, A. (2022, June 7). The assessment regime of the future. The Royal Society Blog.

Watson, P. (2021, May 11). OECD chief warns of dangers to young people of online disinformation.