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Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence in Language Teaching

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We’ve all heard the words Artificial Intelligence (AI) but we’re not exactly sure what it means. Or how it can be applied to, say, language teaching. However, we all use some form of AI in our daily lives; for example, when we google something. Or when we ask Siri or Alexa a question.  Also, when we go online and get in touch with, say, a utility company and a chatbot provides the information we need.

Artificial Intelligence, Briefly

According to Google, AI is “a set of technologies that enable computers to perform a variety of advanced functions”. As a result, these intelligent machines can understand human intelligence and understand and translate spoken and written language.

Various Uses of AI

Artificial Intelligence is, without the shadow of a doubt, very much part of our daily lives. It aims to make our lives simpler at home and at work.

In smart factories, AI can automate workflows and processes and eliminate repetitive tasks so human workers can devote their time to more complex tasks.

AI can remove human errors in fields like data processing and analytics and assembly lines in manufacturing.

Also, AI can process data faster and more accurately than a human.

There are no time and availability constraints as with human workers.

“I think what makes AI different from other technologies is that it’s going to bring humans and machines closer together. AI is sometimes incorrectly framed as machines replacing humans.  It’s not about machines replacing humans, but machines augmenting humans. Humans and machines have different relative strengths and weaknesses, and it’s about the combination of these two that will allow human intents and business process to scale 10x, 100x, and beyond that in the coming years.” Robin Bordoli, former chief executive officer, Figure Eight

AI in Learning

This technology has transformed the way we learn. Gamification, for example, is a fun and engaging way to learn. AI can develop games and quizzes that combine the syllabus with students’ interests.

Another revolutionizing aspect of AI in learning is that it can customize learning material based on students’ needs and interests. The data collected from students is used to create individualized lessons. It provides instant feedback, draws attention to mistakes and tells students how to avoid those mistakes in the future.

Language bots that ChatGPT can give personalized responses, evaluate performance, and give advice on how to get better. This removes the fear of failure, as students aren’t talking to a real person.

Advantages of AI in language learning    

  • Immersive learning: learning environments like the Metaverse can provide real-life experiences that students can apply outside of school hours.
  • Empowerment of the differently-abled: AI helps students with special needs, like atypical speech or diminished vision, learn in an accessible way.
  • No fear of failure.
  • Globalized learning: students can take courses from anywhere they are in the world.
  • No time or place constraints: students can learn at their own pace and set up their own schedule.

Disadvantages of using Artificial Intelligence in teaching

  • Decrease in human interactions: with such poor personal connection, students don’t learn and practice social skills.
  • Teacher unemployment: if more schools use AI to teach and students learn on their own, there will be no more jobs for teachers. However, this is highly unlikely, as teachers will be needed in other capacities.
  • Lack of emotional intelligence: unlike technology, teachers can teach students social skills like empathy, as well as communication skills that will help make them well-rounded adults.
  • Dependence on technology: students rely on technology too much instead of learning how to do things for themselves.
  • Elevated costs: AI technology is expensive to set up and maintain.
  • Risk of hacking the students’ data: if the system is hacked, personal information can be misused.

All in all, Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, and we might as well make the most of it!

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