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Candidate Warns ‘Cyborgs’ could replace teachers

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Classrooms run by cyborgs and an education system at the mercy of machines.

This was the scenario presented Wednesday to a university audience by presidential candidate Nicanor Perlas, who warned that corruption in government could aid greatly in the already deteriorating state of the country's educational system, whose future is threatened by advances in technology.

Perlas, whose major platform is governance based on human transformation, said the educational system is lost in the maze of rapid technological growth that seeks to mechanize learning and make teachers irrelevant.

"There is massive corruption in this country. A total of P500 billion a year is stolen by the government. Education is allotted P125 billion a year, the biggest item in the national budget, but the amount stolen is so big that it could be used for education," he said.

Perlas, who spoke on "21st Century Education: Go for Your Dreams" at Benguet State University, said the educational system suffered by harnessing the IQ (intelligence quotient) of students instead of their holistic development.

He said other "intelligences" must also be developed --- emotional, social, visual, kinetic, moralistic, naturalistic, existential, spiritual and appreciative -- to enable Filipinos to cope with advances in technology.

However, the lack of programs to fully develop these "intelligences" and government corruption has placed the future of education at the mercy of machines, he said.

Computers could replace teachers in the future since there is now a global trend toward the creation of artificial intelligence where the best methods and thoughts of outstanding teachers and teaching practices are stored in software, Perlas added.

The trend -- "technological singularity or convergent technology" or putting into a single technology 50 or more kinds of mechanized intelligence -- would do away with human functions, he said.

Perlas cited the case of "cyborgs,” often depicted in movies, that "could actually become real in the future and could invade education."

Perlas, an agriculture graduate of Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro and a holder of a master's degree in agriculture from the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna, said developed countries are now investing a lot of resources to create these "half human, half robot" creatures to be used in education.

Reference/Source: Delmar Cariño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:22:00 09/02/2009

Filed Under: Education, Schools

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