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AI and education: the importance of teacher and student relations


A defining aspect of our modern age is our tenacious belief in technology in all walks of life, not least in education. It could be argued that this infatuation with technology or ‘techno-philia’ in education has had a deep impact in the classroom changing the relationship between teacher and student, as well as between students; that is, these relations have become increasingly more I–It than I–Thou based because the capacity to form bonds, the level of connectedness between teacher and students, and between students has either decreased or become impaired by the increasing technologisation of education. Running parallel to this and perhaps exacerbating the problem is the so-called process of ‘learnification’, which understands that teachers are mere facilitators of the learning process, rather than someone with an expertise who has something to teach others. In this article, I first assess the current technologisation of education and the impact it has had in relations within the classroom; second, I characterise Buber’s I–It and I–Thou relations and its implications for education; finally, I investigate through a thought experiment if the development of AI could 1 day successfully replace human teachers in the classroom.

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  1. For instance, the issue of ‘technological inclusion’ of individuals through education has deep social, political and economic effects, such as individuals being fit to join the labour market and contribute to the economic development of societies; likewise, ‘technological exclusion’ present us with serious social, political and economic problems, such as unemployment. In addition, the use of technology in education may change educational contexts, their geography, as well as the dynamics between individual.

  2. Christensen (1997: 8) notes that the successful use of technology in the classroom is highly dependent on teachers’ attitudes towards computer as well as expertise and experience in the use of technology.

  3. I note that some can argue that given that the concept of education as Bildung, as character formation, could be used politically and for ideological purposes, then the notion of education as Erziehung, the learning of skills is preferable because it would be perceived as being more natural and not political. However, as Paulo Freire taught us ‘all education is political’ and therefore Bildung can be conceived as the formation of critical individuals and citizens, whilst Erziehung as a form of ‘banking education’ and ‘domestication of the masses’ (cf. Freire 1996).


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Guilherme, A. AI and education: the importance of teacher and student relations. AI & Soc 34, 47–54 (2019).

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