Artificial Intelligence, E-Learning and Digital Transformation. Breakfast with Kubrik and Spielberg

Intelligenza Artificiale

Not long ago, two visionaries – as well as very capable and enlightened human carriers of extraordinary messages to be fed to the silver screen – sat down at a table and began talking about yet another winning epiphany, generated by the spark that only the contact between two extraordinary minds is capable of igniting.

Stanley Kubrik talks to his friend Steven Spielberg about how he envisions the evolution of machines, and the contextual thinking (unprecedented foreshadowing) that he believes they will develop in the coming years. He talks to him about how, in his opinion, machines will succeed – at the hands of man himself – to reason like him and emulate his actions; how they will even be able to love, like human beings.

He was talking, in a very pioneristic way, about Artificial Intelligence.

The assumption remains latent and settles into a little corner of the two enlightened minds. It is when Kubrik disappears that Spielberg decides to retrieve his friend’s wonderful gift from the little corner where he had stowed it. He shakes the dust from its sides, and delivers the story of AI to Hollywood and the world.

Perhaps it is on this occasion that we (we humans…) globally came into contact with the concept of Artificial Intelligence. It is 2001.

Intelligenza Artificiale

AI and Industry 4.0

Anno Domini 2018. Artificial Intelligence is an objective reality, with which HR managers and e-learning and training experts are making profitable … “reckoning.” Why?

Let’s try to understand what is really happening in the world of Industry 4.0 and why we are now being forced to implement new business strategies that take into account the … Power of a mechanical mind.

Let’s proceed step by step. Artificial Intelligence (AI in the English language) is defined as that discipline belonging to the field of computer science that aims to study theoretical foundations, methodologies, analyses and techniques aimed at programming hardware & software systems capable of providing the electronic processor with performance pertaining exclusively to human intelligence. It should be clarified that definitions remain multiple and not yet universally codified, AI being the subject of continuous research and experimentation nowadays.

AI: Emotional Learning time

Some linguistic “eye” will no doubt have noticed the lapidary oxymoron that the very concept of AI represents. It seems to be born and evolving in a continual contradiction between dismay and seemingly ingenious applications. The reality, however, is that the “machine that can emulate man” is the core topic of Research-digital and otherwise-of our time. If in the 1970s/80s AI studies were the exclusive preserve of the academy, today the axis seems to be shifting toward those Managers who see a real organizational benefit in it and, concomitantly, study it extensively. Continuously.

We are, as everyone knows, in the midst of Digital Transformation. Almost no Manager can avoid coming to terms with the new concept of Business that places people at the center. No one can deny the objective pressing of that brand new moment in the world economy called the Experience Economy. And everyone is now well aware of the need to offer real emotional “curation” of their users’ experience and interaction with the…machine. It’s the User Experience era, and how it’s based on the concept of “engage, never force.”

You always return to where you’ve had a good time

Users, whatever needs they are fulfilling when using the Net, will willingly return only and exclusively to those digital places where they experienced something magical, something extraordinary. They will be willing to repeat only that Customer Journey (or in this case Learning Journey) that will have concretely brought value into their lives. The Digital “law” is therefore ruthless, but extremely honest as well as meritocratic.

It’s for these reasons that the Machine has decided to resemble Man more and more. It is for these reasons that it studies us in our every single online behavior. It’s for these reasons that parameters such as neural networks and heat maps are born. We are under scrutiny, then, but in turn we place the Machine under scrutiny.

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Learning Experience and AI: the new face of L&D System

The area involved in the successful use of AI seems to be in e-learning and Digital Learning. It is here, indeed, in the world of Online Training and Learning & Development, that AI can concretely come into play by significantly improving the user/learner learning experience. The Machine wants to learn from us: what better role, then, than learning itself for… “her”?

As mentioned, Research is continually exploring new methods and techniques for creating machines that emulate the skill, reasoning and activity previously the exclusive preserve of the Human Species. While some experimentation in other areas, especially in the States, has been summarily ineffective to date, the L&D System may concretely open the door to the new thinking being with a drop (or a sea…) of confidence, compared to others.

The use of AI and, consequently, intelligent tutors (bot, chatbot) in corporate training programs would bring significant improvements in the user’s training experience. He or she would be placed in a position to receive answers targeted to his or her specific learning plan – in addition to basic support for any need for quick “review” of a given content, in an extremely learner friendly manner and accessible from any device.

A tutor for the right path

Let us then think about the rhythms imposed by the modern work-system and its space-time parameters: who would not benefit from a friendly Bot, who with an affable and never rude tone exercises the function of a reminder and follows us on our path to business training? Amidst the thousands of work commitments, meetings, deadlines to be met, goals to be scored, wouldn’t a little helper (holder in this case of universal knowledge) take on an unprecedented character of indispensability, always supporting us – in relation to our personal educational plan, or on any pressing propedeuticities?

Again: AI consists of substantial search for – as well as continuous study and analysis of – semantic correspondences between contents. So-called semantic consistency.

From the perspective of wanting to deliver level education, this magical tool on which AI hinges almost completely takes on characters of immense value: a tag building of level content, analyzed, managed and delivered solely on the basis of targeting the users (the learners, in the L&D field). Priceless.

Artificial? Nope. Augmented, thanks.

For the above reasons, here emerges overbearingly the new and pragmatic direction/application of AI in the L&D field: intelligence that does not propose to react to stimuli from Man at all, but instead operates in the direction in which it surely has no equal, such as data collecting and data analysis. An intelligence programmed to provide indispensable support to Man, not to replace him. L&D Intelligence is no longer Artificial, then, but Augmented Intelligence.

It is in this magical synergy, in this dialogue between the two worlds that lies the real growth of both, the real achievement. It is in this profitable and effective synergistic dialogue between the mysteries of the two minds that the true strength of both can profitably collide. One never replaces the other: it complements it, assists it, stimulates it toward greater performance. This, the true frontier of AI. Anno Domini 2018. I wonder what Kubrik would think of it.

Follow along with us as AI research develops in future posts.

Red pill or blue pill?

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