The Human Element in Artificial Intelligence

Technology is ever changing and serves to make the life of the end-user easier without the hassle of thinking. Imagine that…problem solving, critically thinking,
and reasoning our way through life’s successes and challenges without an instantaneous click, drag or drop. Technology allows for easy access living, predictability, and less interaction with the human touch. Ironically, the people who develop and create such technological products and tools – the innovation, requires the hassle of a person who thinks critically, problem-solves and reasons to fill a gap in the market and to meet the prognostic needs and desires of the end-users.

Many of the tech industry’s biggest companies, like Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft, are jockeying to become the go-to company for Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). In the industry’s lingo, the companies are engaged in a “platform war” (New York Times, 2016). The thought of A.I. as part of our everyday lives may be daunting and invigorating all at the same time.  A.I. can be defined as the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages (Merriam-Webster).

As great as technology is, it requires human input for development.  Just as in the classroom, a teacher must be willing to purposefully plan and prepare instruction even when technology is integrated. Programmers and coders can provide the infinity of engaging scenario-based simulations, but technology cannot self-populate relevant and meaningful content. It still requires human input. Technology can’t think for itself to create for itself. Technology is like a new mode of transportation but it is not an organism that can live and breathe on its own.

This is because such intentional behavior from an A.I. would undoubtedly require a mind, as intentionality can only arise when something possesses its own beliefs, desires, and motivations. The type of A.I. that includes these features is known amongst the scientific community as “Strong Artificial Intelligence”. Strong A.I., by definition, should possess the full range of human cognitive abilities. This includes self-awareness, sentience, and consciousness, as these are all features of human cognition (Rawstory, 2016).

We have an intentional and purposeful commitment to be cognitive thinkers and to stay abreast of technological advances. We should seek to consistently identify the missing links or holes in the market that needs filling. And lastly, examine a technological solution for an identified, yet not quite addressed pain point in our educational settings, which is a CTE MATTER!


Eboni Camille Chillis, PhD

Coordinator of Career, Technical & Agricultural Education

Clayton County Public Schools