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CategoryEducation

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economist table with report

What, Exactly, Do Economists Do?

Economist make the world a better place

Thanks to economists, during the economic crisis that began in 2007, the President, Congress, and Federal Reserve did not repeat the errors of the 1930s.

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Mother and child doing homeschooling, e-learning at home because of the corona virus pandemic covid-19 quarantine

Five Ways COVID-19 Is Changing Education for Good

Parents, students, and teachers worldwide have been finding ways to use the internet in creative ways they would never have considered before

Recently, a Harvard prof chose to launch an attack on homeschoolers, portraying them as driven by narrow religious concerns. Given how many parents COVID-19 has forced to homeschool, the attack was, at best, poorly timed. But it usefully focused attention on the ways education needs to change in an online world.
 

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Blackboard inscribed with scientific formulas and calculations in physics and mathematics.

Bartlett’s Calculus Paper Reviewed in Mathematics Magazine

The paper offers fixes for long-standing flaws in the teaching of elementary calculus

Jonathan Bartlett tells us, “The review was mixed, but most importantly the reviewer didn’t disagree with the results, only their potential usefulness."

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Young little Asian boy wearing shoes on stair with wear medical face mask to protect from infection of viruses, pandemic, outbreak and epidemic of disease in empty shopping mall during quarantine.

DingTalk: Where the “Teacher” Really Is Always Watching You

The COVID-19 quarantine has spiked both virtual workplaces and classrooms in China, highlighting anger at the surveillance

Every human being, whether office worker or high school student, bucks against digital harnesses.

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An abstract computer generated fractal design. A fractal is a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales.

Are Divergent Series Really an “Invention of the Devil”?

The real villain in the piece is horrendously non-specific concepts of infinity. But that can be fixed

It turns out that hyperreal numbers (i.e., infinities that obey algebraic rules) resolve many of the paradoxes that previously plagued conceptions of divergent series. It is now possible to assign specific values to divergent series.

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Students studying in college library

Machines Can’t Teach Us How To Learn

A recent study used computer simulations to test the “small mistakes” rule in human learning

Machine learning is not at all like human learning. For example, machine learning frequently requires millions of examples. Humans learn from a few examples.

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Improve Your Job Chances by Scaling the Cloud

WBC Fellow Releases introductory book on Building Scalable PHP web applications using the cloud

One new issue that the cloud creates is that programmers are more often required to be “full stack” developers,” Jonathan Bartlett explains. “Unfortunately, most programmers coming out of college have little to no system administration experience. That’s why this book is based on the ‘full stack’ concept, showing how system administration and programming relate to each other.”

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Shakespeare's Globe Theatre by the river Thames in Londob, UK

Can AI Prove That Shakespeare Had Ghostwriters?

An author’s unique style is like a fingerprint. AI can fill it in

Turning AI loose on some of these vexing problems should give literary scholars more to write about rather than less. The AI verdict may not always be right but it is bound to be food for thought.

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Machine Learning, Part 3: Don’t Snoop on Your Data

You risk using a feature for prediction that is common to the dataset, but not to the problem you are studying

As long as we can establish that our theories, hypotheses, and/or models are independent of the data, then we can trust that their predictive power will generalize beyond the data we have observed.

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child girl playing with counter toy at nursery

Babies Have a Number Sense Before They Can Count

The study showed that counting with babies makes a difference, even though their understanding is not very exact

The question was not whether the infants understood the exact numbers (they didn’t) but whether they understood that the researchers were, in fact, counting things.

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jockey

Machine Learning, Part 2: Supervised Learning

Machine learning isn’t hard to understand; it’s just different. Let’s start with the most common type

The neat thing about machine learning is that the algorithm can extract general principles from the dataset that can then be applied to new problems. It is like the story that Newton observed an apple fall and then derived from it the general law of gravity that applies to the entire universe.

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Infinity sign black and white texture

Yes, You Can Manipulate Infinity—in Math

The hyperreals are bigger (and smaller) than your average number — and better!

Hyperreal numbers are a new type of number that was developed to simplify and rethink the way that we deal with very large and very small numbers.

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Students sitting a test in an exam hall in college

The Challenge of Teaching Machines to Generalize

Teaching students simply to pass tests provides a good illustration of the problems

We want the machine learning algorithms to learn general principles from the data, and not merely little tricks and trivia that that score high but ignore problems.

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Architectural curves

Don’t Leave Home Without These Three Curves

Three mathematical curves explain a lot of what happens—and doesn’t happen—in everyday life

One of the problems with modern secondary mathematics education is that it teaches lots of details about how to solve problems but provides very little insight into how to understand problems. You may have learned to solve a quadratic equation but you may not have learned what life situations generate a quadratic equation.

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Canadian Province to Ban Cell Phones from Classrooms

Education experts are cautiously hopeful about reducing distraction and cyberbullying
France and a number of jurisdictions in Britain, as well as some American ones, have already instituted such bans and several studies have identified subsequent improvements in schoolwork. Read More ›
Stack of books with laptop

Has Aristo broken bounds for thinking computers?

The Grade 8 graduate improves on Watson but we must still think for ourselves at school. Here’s why
Aristo combines questions and answers on a multiple-choice test to decide on the best answer without understanding any of the information. Read More ›
Joyful preteen lady beaming while embracing human like root

Tell Kids the Robot Is “It,” Not “He”

Teaching children to understand AI and robotics is part of a good education today

We are not truly likely to be ruled by AI overlords (as opposed to powerful people using AI. But even doubtful predictions may be self-fulfilling if enough impressionable people come to believe them. Children, for example. We adults are aware of the limitations of AI. But if we talk about AI devices as if they were people, children—who often imbue even stuffed toys with complex personalities—may be easily confused. Sue Shellenbarger, Work & Family columnist at The Wall Street Journal, warns that already, “Many children think robots are smarter than humans or imbue them with magical powers.” While she admits that the “long-term consequences” are still unclear, “an expanding body of research” suggests we need to train children to draw Read More ›

Classmates using their smartphones heavily during classes

The Prof Banned Phones in Class. What Happened?

Not a walkout. No riots. No revolution. Some insights though, that match up with other research
Essentially, the user keeps the phone but must leave the venue to unlock it. Barring a reasonable excuse, that might be like excusing oneself to go outside to smoke. Read More ›
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Mathematics Gives Us Life Skills and Mental Tools

Unfortunately, some professors, like the one who attacked my recent article, seem to prefer pedantry

What makes you an expert today is not your clarity of thought but rather your ability to conform your thoughts entirely to the constraints of your profession’s vocabulary.

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Girl pushing big stone hard, impossible and useless concept

Doing the Impossible: A Step-by-Step Guide

Often, in life as in calculus, when our implicit assumptions as to why something can’t be done are made explicit, they can be disproven
Calculus textbooks are the most dry and boring presentations of mathematics I have ever seen, even though calculus offers some of the most amazing insights. Unfortunately, most mathematics texts teach only the mathematics, never the insights. Read More ›