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The Impact of AI on Language Learning | Hosni Zaouali @ Digifest 2019 Educators Forum


Matt Humphreys: Moving right along, we do have a great speaker and his name is Hosni Zaouali. He’ll be speaking about the impact of AI
on language learning and let me tell you a little bit about Hosni. Hosni is
the founder of Voilá Learning. He’s an executive educator at Stanford
University in California and specializes in customer behaviour and language
application. Using a design thinking approach, he will explain why and how
artificial intelligence is about to transform language learning and
education at large. Is Hosni here? Yes, sir, there you are. [laughter] Just wanted to make sure. A round of applause and welcome Hosni to the stage. Hosni Zaouali: Thank you so much for being here. My name is Hosni, you can call me Hos, and in this presentation we’re gonna be
interacting back and forth with the crowd, so please do not hesitate
to interrupt me. So as a matter of fact if you can have a microphone in the
audience that would be really good. So we can wrap up with any time you want
to ask a question please feel free to to go ahead and ask. Okay so, I hate talking
about myself but basically, I founded Voila Learning, I work as a course
facilitator at Stanford in the capacity of basically, three courses. One of them is
critical, analytical thinking and we help executives all over the world to make
better decisions in terms of- well everybody knows what critical thinking
is… well put some data in there and it becomes critical analytical thinking. So
we teach them, basically, to gather the most data to make the best decision
possible and sometimes the data is not even available. So there’s a whole
procedure in that matter that’s been created by Professor Han Mendelsohn.
Another one is customer behaviour and neuroscience and the third one is
successful change. So successful change is a little bit what you’re going to be
talking about today. The impact of AI on education. Everybody
knows I hope, well it’s okay if not, but AI there’s a lot of confusion about what is
AI and what is not AI. So anyway, an easy definition would be: AI is the ability
for a computer or program or machine to think and learn. So to have it- and
obviously, as I said, please feel free to interrupt me at any time. Okay if you
want to have an idea of what is this new beast that we call AI, think about chess,
and I know that some of you are old enough here to remember the player
Kasparov when he played against the IBM machine called…. help me again… AlphaZero or Stockfish? Deep Blue? Deep Blue, and then basically it took how
long for Kasparov to win? It took him like five years or something like that,
you know, basically back and forth. Well check this out.
Google now came up with a new machine learning that will be- basically it’s a
program that is able to play chess. Alright so think about this: it
took approximately five years for Deep Blue to play against all the players
and finally beat the best player in chess ever, Kasparov. All right these guys
now, Google, show up with Stockfish with AlphaZero and what happens is very
simple: the algorithm we made him play ,not against people, but against himself.
That’s already impressive but then we made him play against Deep Blue and what
happened is something very interesting. Out of a hundred games, AlphaZero won 86
times and the rest it was a tie. So this new program from IBM never really won.
Now this is really impressive but push it even a little bit further: how
long did it take for this new algorithm to train itself and beat the best chess
program ever? Four hours. Since they press play it
trained itself by playing against itself, not against anyone, and became so
powerful that nobody can actually compete now because it gets better over
time. What does it mean? Let’s take that back to, forget about education
right now, take it to let’s say… if AlphaZero, this new algorithm, starts playing a
real war. It means that we have now a Minister of Defence waiting for this
algorithm to tell him what would be his next move and more and more this is what
the future is going to look like. Humans obviously, have a huge huge part to play
in there but, check this out, it’s gonna become what we gonna call a digital
dictatorship. Where the intelligence of these machine learning are gonna be so
big that we have no other choice then sit back, relax and let’s see what’s
gonna happen. Now that raises another question, the
question is the question of bias. All right, all these codes are programmed by
humans and let’s just say these guys, if these guys live in Toronto… actually Toronto is a good example of multiculturalism so I really love it, but
let’s just say, you know, they come from the Valley or from China. Obviously,
there’s a massive massive bias in there. Let’s talk about- let’s do it
this way. If the programmer is a male between 25 and 35 he’s obviously going to
have a specific vision or view of the world and that view is going to be
reflected in the code. So, put it this way for instance, do you remember now back
in the days where we were starting university and we had those friends of
ours, you know, who were like, “Oh, I’m gonna go to theatre,” or, “I’m gonna go major in
philosophy,” and everybody was like, “hey good luck with the job market.” Well, this
is what’s gonna happen right now. People basically are gonna start coding
things and we’re gonna have a desperate need for these philosophers. Why? Because
this code we need to tackle real questions. If you combine robotics and AI and you
create, let just say, machine soldiers. These machine soldiers are gonna have to
make decisions and these decisions are going to be based on the code that you
initially based it from. So this philosophy major is, they
are gonna start to be hired by Google, Facebook and all these major companies
because we need to tackle serious questions. Here’s a serious question: let’s just say Airbus, European plane company or Boeing they create machine
learning that will basically help this plane to pilot itself and land itself
and basically does everything itself. At some point, if there
is any problem, the plane is gonna have to decide himself: “Should I crash into a village and kill the villagers or try to save, you know, my
passengers or should I crash in the middle of the Himalayas and kill all my
passengers?” or lets just put that, you know, in the context of a car. Tesla comes out, you know, with a car and one of them is the altruist and the other one would be the
egoist. The altruist would be, three kids run across the street, I’m gonna run them
and save my passenger. That’s the egoist. The altruist will be now just
drive into the ditch save the kids but possibly kill a passenger. That is a
code that will have to be determined. That is a question that needs to be
raised and only a philosopher can actually influence that coder to put
that in the code. So why are we talking about this? It’s because in education it’s
going to have a huge huge impact. So you see at the macro lev- first of all, do you have any questions so far? I know this is very very theoretical, but please ask any questions if you have any. Any microphone around? If you have any? It is? So anyway the next thing I wanted to talk to you about
guys, is irrelevance. This is the impact of AI. Yesterday I was at a talk and they said, “Hey, you know, what AI and humans they’re gonna cohabitate. It’s gonna be awesome. They’re gonna make our life better.” Our lives better, maybe, for sure. But lives of hundreds of millions of people, not so
much. Here’s the history of, obviously you know
it, the history of humanity. First world countries they can truly make, you
know, all these things. They need cheap labour so they sent that, you know,
to Africa and to Asia and basically we as Africans know we have to… and we
actually survived that long thanks to that. Making jeans, making parts, making
everything that the West couldn’t really make cheap, cheaper. Now you multiply that you take, you know, robotics and AI and all of a sudden all these jeans will be made by
3d printers. On Times Square you’re gonna have a massive, like, warehouse full of 3d
printers. You’re going to be able to order your jeans and it’s gonna be done right
there. So obviously AI is gonna put so many people out of their job, hundreds of
millions of people out of their job that the question that comes up out of all
of a sudden is exploitation. You’re gonna go from exploitation to irrelevance. Do
you know what irrelevance will create? It creates so much tension in the world. So
obviously our, I mean, Europe, China, North America, we’re gonna be okay because
we’re gonna benefit from that so much. But this is where education plays a
massive role is that if we don’t do anything for these hundreds of millions
of people who will be, not only out of their job, but completely in [?] of a
society, imagine what it means. Anything that’s been produced you don’t look at
it, you can’t buy it, you can’t produce it. Anything that is
happening on the market you can’t do it anymore. So we’re talking about a massive
massive crisis in that matter and this is why we need to rethink education to
actually get these guys back on the system. This irrelevance, and we talked
about it already, it’s going to create so much trouble and now I don’t
want to scare everybody you know, in that matter but obviously
irrelevance creates massive tension on a global scale. If you
see, you know, and I basically back in the day I started a Ph.D. in
geopolitics and my line of study was basically what’s happening with ISIS
right now back in the days of al-qaeda. Irrelevance. This is what’s happening.
Irrelevance creates so much frustration that people start blowing shit up. It’s
really what’s happening. They are feeling so- so this is why education, if you don’t
think about it on a global scale and in more- in a better way, it will have
have a drastic drastic impact on hundreds of millions of people and we
cannot really close our eyes and put our head in the sand, as a matter. Ok
any questions so far? So the other thing that- the other course that I facilitate
the Stanford is the customer behaviour, the consumer behaviour, and the
neuroscience aspect of it. For our kids that we try to educate there is a
combination of gamification and AI that will make these, I don’t want to say
these gaming company, but it’s gonna be a lot of tech companies that will
know more about your kids than yourself. I know it sounds really stressful and I
have a kid myself but believe me, that’s gonna be the case.
Because, first of all, have you ever tried to take an iPad out of the hands of a
five-year-old? I mean it’s… I tried that last night, it didn’t go very well. The
second thing is all these tech companies are studying every- they used to study
everything outside of the body of your kid, all right? Every website he goes to. every move he makes on the iPad or on
the phone and it’s also basically, it’s also our case for adults
but now it goes even deeper than that. Pretty soon we’re gonna be able to
measure what’s inside the body, not only for the kid, but for the adults too. Right
now, as a matter of fact, you have systems where I can tell someone’s blood
pressure without touching him. Someone’s temperature and I’m truly sure you saw
that at shopper’s pointing at him and I can tell you he’s 37 or 38 degrees
Celsius. Soon we’ll be able to know what’s inside
the body and knowing what’s inside the body I’ll be able to determine what is
the dopamine level of my child, of this kid? What is the serotonin level? What triggers him? What doesn’t trigger him?
What bores him, what excites him and by the way, this dopamine loop that we
talking about all the time, gaming companies have really mastered it
. But before the gaming companies and before Facebook, you need to go back to a
place called Vegas. Every- it’s true, it’s very, it’s absolutely true – those guys have
been hired from Vegas to work in the Valley. Every slot machine has a chip,
every chip has an algorithm, this algorithms determines how much light, how much sound, how much reward I’m gonna give you to hook you to that machine. They perfected it over time. I know these guys really well and now they are hired
by the big tech companies. Now when you’re on Facebook you wonder why you
can’t really get off your screen… well because everything is designed to get
that dopamine loop. Fun fact: Vegas- what is the most common
disease in Vegas? Bladder infection. “This is my machine I will not leave.” Bladder
infection is the most common disease in Vegas. So put that on your phone and
apply that to your kid and it becomes extremely dangerous for the
development of a child. So I know all this, you know, sounds very very dark but
there’s light at the end of the tunnel and I promise you it’s actually quite
optimistic but it’s important that we talk about these very serious things. We,
obviously, need to basically change the paradigm of education. The education
system, you know, that we have right now is based on the Industrial Revolution.
Right, we’re gonna talk about it a little bit later. So in the middle of the town
we build a concrete building and in this building we’re going to divide this
building into rooms. These rooms are gonna have adults coming in and tell you about what happened to humans in the past, that’s gonna be
history, and they’re gonna talk to you about social studies and they’re gonna
talk to you about math. We have done tremendous progress with this system.
Unfortunately, this system is a little outdated now. I was talking to someone at
the Toronto District School Board and that person was super super happy to
tell me, “Hey, we are gonna be teaching coding to our kids,” and I was like, “Yeah,
it’s a good move, you know, but it’s completely unnecessary. The AI is gonna
be coding way faster, way better than any human pretty soon.” So it’s almost like
that the education system is always one step behind in everything we do and this
is really where it gets a little bit scary. We haven’t been able to evolve
at the same pace then the society. Take a look at communication. We went from the
letter or writing on stones to the iPhone or to the smartphone. Take a look
at transportation we went from the horse to a Tesla. Take a look at medicine we
went from the scalpel opening people and bleeding everywhere to now you can
operate remotely from a different country. Education we are still in the same
classroom, you’re still in the same building that have fences that
protects you against the world. I’m not saying anything I was a teacher myself
and I’m still a teacher. As a matter of fact I taught kindergarten, I taught
grade 1, grade 2, grade 3 and it’s amazing what we’ve been able to do with this
system but more and more now it becomes irrelevant and not only that, extremely
dangerous for the future. I know that it sucks, you know, that okay my kid has
spent 900 hours studying multiplication tables. I know that it sucks. I know what
I’m gonna say sucks but I’m so sorry it’s completely unnecessary. As soon as
he understood that’s how multiplications work
that’s fine, let’s move on! Because guess what? Right now I can tell you that 50%
of the crowd doesn’t know how much 9 times 8 is. Maybe you guys are teachers
so you know but believe me, most people are gonna be like 9 times 8. As a matter
of fact, they don’t even have to ask anymore, the phone is going to tell them.
So that’s why I’m like, “Can we not spend 900 hours on this and mostly prepare
them for the future?” That’s really where our role as educators becomes critical
and I know, I know it’s really hard to hear but it’s almost like we’re training kids to sew when sewing machines are being produced right now as
we’re talking. They’re going to be completely irrelevant. So before we go
into the language learning, wanted to touch on a couple of points. So
first of all, is there any questions so far? I know that some people were
skeptics about what I was saying, so please throw that at me, you know, as blunt
as you can. So I don’t know if you saw yesterday’s LinkedIn report. LinkedIn
is not only to connect people, it’s also to train people and they have
all these courses. So they have their report, you know, that came out yesterday
or two days ago and it seems that there is a massive increase of people learning
online. And it’s true that more and more now, we’re going to be judged not only by
our Ph.D. or by an MBA or by all that but by what we studied on our own and
all the things that we have done. Which is obviously more fair, right?
So this changes pretty much everything because we’re gonna see people stepping
away from universities and going more to colleges, as a matter of fact, who are way
way more flexible than universities. Not only that, they’re also
going to step away from that and they’re gonna start learning on their own. Today
if I want to learn how to edit a video I can go online, spend hours, probably less
time then if I was in a classroom and learn Final Cut Pro 10 or Final Cut Pro
7 if you don’t like it and honestly it’s gonna be enough, you can go by. And then
it’s all about what you’ve done and who you surround yourself with that’s gonna
make you an expert, or not an expert. Not your Ph.D. that by the time, you know, you
finish your Ph.D. is probably gonna be outdated. I’m a victim of that too,
believe me. So what we’re talking about here is, basically, there is obviously a
lot of hope and at least know there’s a lot of hope for a continent that is very,
very dear to me. It’s Africa. Why? Because huge population and it is the population
that is the youngest in the world, the youngest population in the world. What
does it mean? It means that in the future pretty soon when we’re gonna retire,
those guys are gonna be boosting the economy. It’s gonna come from them not
from China because everybody’s gonna be old. Although the one-child policy is not relevant anymore so it’s probably
going to pick up, but in Africa this is what’s happening. Now Africa is a very
interesting place, well it’s not a place it’s a huge continent, but my point is,
you see, when I was in Somalia not long ago I saw that people completely skipped,
you know, the land line and they went straight to the phone, to the
cell phone, to the smartphone as a matter of fact. Where the educational system is
going to be probably the same thing. People are not going to be starting to
build an entire school board and twenty-five buildings that we’re going
to call school. They’re just gonna start building small interactive centers where
people can come and go whenever they want but they will have and take the
education from their mobile or from their device. This is where there’s a
huge huge huge hope for the future. Any thoughts on that guys? Don’t let me uh,
yes. Audience Member 1: Learning online, yeah, you’re talking about learning online and as I see you are mostly referring to skill learning,
not about thinkers, that’s two different things. Hosni: Yeah, it’s very true. It’s very true, you know, obviously, there’s two separate things
there, the thinkers and the skilled. But even the thinkers we know when we
talked about the philosopher’s who’s gonna have- who are I’m sure gonna take a
bigger, biggest spot in our society – they will have to surround themselves
with experts and learn with each other as opposed to going to a room where there’s
someone who has an authority, you’re gonna drop in all this knowledge,
they’re gonna absorb the knowledge and they’re gonna move on. Why? Because one
thing is for sure, it’s AI and everything that I said obviously is to take with a
grain of salt but one thing that I’m a hundred percent sure that’s gonna happen,
change. Change is the only thing that I can tell you as educators for the
future if you need to prepare your kids or your students for something prepare
them to absorb change because it’s gonna change a lot. Forget about having a
career, you’re not gonna get a career. Forget about having a job, you’re gonna
have multiple jobs in five years and multiple careers in ten years because
things are gonna move so fast that they will have to constantly retrain
themselves. Whether they need to have- whether they are thinkers or skilled,
they will have to train themselves constantly. So one thing is for sure, it’s
like we have these kids, you know, who are, you know, they have a predominant
intelligence that is kinesthetic and some of those who have a
predominant intelligence that is interpersonal or intrapersonal. Either
way, we’re gonna have to train those guys to handle change and you will see that
sooner or later there will be a scientist who will come up with these
new intelligence called….. the theory of change or change absorption, you know, how much can you absorb? How much change can you absorb in a short amount of time? But
yes, obviously, you know everything else will have to be taken with a grain of salt. Very quickly, in terms of language learning guys. So we talk about natural
language understanding, natural language processing.
Although AI is doing great great improvement, we haven’t seen a
breakthrough yet. I don’t know about you guys but I haven’t seen anything massive.
We have in Toronto, or in Canada, we have Element AI. I think they got 89 million
dollars invested last year, there’s nothing on the market that they will be
able to sell. We have the Vector Institute, awesome brains, amazing people
but right now even Google even- have you seen the last Google Duplex? So basically
Google has created this assistant where you take your phone and you say, “Hey
assistant, book me an appointment at a hairdresser, okay?” and Google duplex will literally call the salon and say, “Hi I’m calling on
behalf of Laura and I would like to book an appointment at this time,” and the
person who interacts with this robot is like, “What time?” “Well I would like on
Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.” and has all these signs of almost like human, you know? The “Mmhmm”, “Yeah… let me know” So it’s almost impossible to know if
it’s a human or a robot and I was blown away when I saw that in May
2018, a year ago, sorry. Now, I made some research and I was like I just bought
the last Google pixel phone yesterday, I just received it yesterday. So I tried to
take a look at that I was like, “why isn’t it implemented?” Well it’s not implemented
because to get that specific example of Google’s duplex – and I’m encouraging you
to take a look at what it is – when the CEO of Google presents it
I made some research, I called some friends from Google and they said, “Yo Hos, you
have no idea buddy. We made 3500 calls to get one call that
actually worked.” So obviously you know this is a reason why it’s not on the
market yet, obviously, because AI is we have always been very very optimistic about
technology and it has always always taken more time than we hoped.
So for natural language understanding and natural language processing when
we’re gonna have those glasses and those earpieces that’s gonna be able to
translate every one of our thoughts into any language… not tomorrow, not today. It’s an extremely complicated subject because we thought
that it’s all about sentence structure and you just translate it but it’s not
about that. It’s about emotions, it’s about culture. A language it’s filled
with culture, it’s filled with nuances and any robot or any AI right now, as
developed as they are, they haven’t been able to tackle that. There’s a lot of
data around it and they’re collecting even more and more data but the end of
language schools is not for tomorrow yet. Believe me, it’s not for tomorrow because
it’s one thing, you know, to go to Japan and start talking with someone. As a
matter of fact, that’s all the non-verbal communication and that again AI is tackling
on that because by the way just the camera of your phone or the camera of
your computer can measure everything that’s happening in your eye. I
know how much you are awake, how much you’re not awake, a Fitbit brand bracelet
can tell you how much dopamine or serotonin or even cortisol is going on
in your body pretty soon. So you put all that together, which is not gonna be for
another 20 years at least, and you have something that will change the language
learning world but it’s not for tomorrow. You’ll see we’re gonna do like a promise
promise drop promise promise promise drop and another promise promise
and drop. One thing is for sure though, what I said about irrelevance and
hundreds of millions of people will be out of their job, but not only out of the job, completely irrelevant. That’s going to happen and if
we don’t train people to be more reactive, train themselves, be better
prepared for change. I see an absolute disaster that’s gonna happen. What I see
ahead is, just to be blunt today, I see wars, A lot of unnecessary wars, educators today, more than any other time, have an extremely
important responsibility. The responsibility is to teach your students to
master change but more importantly teach your students to know themselves and you
know I know I know it’s a whole like very… it’s a whole trick, you know,
it’s an old trick. It’s basically know yourself, you know,
and obviously, all the philosophers have said that but this is more urgent than
ever, guess why? Because if you don’t really
work on knowing yourself as a student, your Google pixel phone is gonna know
you. It’s working really hard, probably listening to me right now, this is not
science fiction. Everything- all this is possible it’s been proven they
can activate the microphone of your phone even if you don’t want it.
The camera as well. They can gather all these data and know you better than you
know yourself or know your kids better than you know them. For the end goal is:
selling you stuff, selling your kids stuff and that’s what I call, well that’s what
we call, digital dictatorship. The only remedy to that it’s actually to
teach people to learn to know themselves. What is your values? What are your values?
What do you need to- how to make a difference between love and pleasure? The
difference between love and desire, between happiness and fun, between joy
and fun, between what is suffering, what can suffer and what cannot suffer. If
they tell you, “Oh, Canada is suffering right now because of the United States,
let’s fight.” Hey, Canada cannot suffer, people suffer. Canada is a story that we
told ourselves, that your phone can make you believe all that and what is really
really strange and very very dangerous for me, it’s just that
unlike any other dictatorship this digital dictatorship can make you love
the dictator. They will manipulate everything that makes you think that, “Hey,
I’m in total control.” As a matter of fact, for those here in the audience who think
that, “Eh, not gonna happen that for me, I don’t use Facebook. I don’t use it.” Well
you probably more inclined to be controlled than any one of us.
They are extremely, extremely good the machine will know you better than
you know yourself if you don’t work at knowing yourself. This is the biggest and
most important question in terms of education. Teaching our kids not to be
sheeps but teaching them to actually learn to know themselves faster than a
machine can can do it because it’s happening. Yes. Audience Member 2: You’re talking about
irrelevance being one of the big concerns. I fully agree with you
but I think we have a big challenge around that because having
people trained and having the companies that are appointed of these areas
potentially providing funding to create education around that is great
but at the end of the day, it’s the access to the technology that’s going to
need to be also supplied to this pla- or to the various places because without
the access to the web, to the various services, to AR, to VR. Eventually those types of things will actually create a divide as well and the class
divide is going to grow stronger. Education especially, there’s gonna be a
lot of tools that we’re gonna be using to get education out there in different
formats but if there’s places that don’t have access to those resources that’s
really well, I think, one of the big things we need to make shift around and
start changing. Hosni: I think you’re absolutely right, you’re absolutely right. When
we talked about that- when we talked about this system here and I said, “Oh,
well, you know, it’s inherited from the Industrial Revolution and everybody’s in
rows and stuff like that – although not the case anymore – but you’re absolutely
right. We have an educational system right now,
especially in elementary and secondary and possibly in universities – I’m not
talking about colleges because they’re doing an amazing job – we don’t have any
other alternative. We do, but we don’t. We have LinkedIn that does this and then we
have Coursera, Udemy… but nothing really at the mass scale that could basically
help hundreds of millions of people and access is one of the big problem. However
what would cost more? Building many school boards with thousands of
schools with all the staff that needs to maintain that school running, or setting
up cell phone towers all over Africa. That’s really where they completely
leapfrog the entire land line and I’m very very curious what’s gonna happen
soon. I hope that tomorrow’s digital engineers or designers or game
designers will come from different places that are not the usual suspects.
We will be doing other stuff but I hope that we will leave a share of this
cake to everybody else. Now when you see the superpowers that are in control
right now, this is where I get a little bit more pessimistic. Do you think that,
for instance, now if we talk about the states and believe me, I work there and I
love the states and it’s amazing. However, what’s in control right now it’s
when we see the current administration calling those countries shitholes.
Do you think they’re gonna be thinking about what’s gonna happen to them in the
next 5-10 years? I don’t think so. This is where I’m like uh..
and by the way, Joe Biden is running for president if you don’t know, that
happened yesterday. But yeah, any other questions please. Yes? Audience Member 3: You mentioned reactivity is something that’s very important for teaching our children so that they can react to
change but I was wondering where you would put the role of being proactive
and how we might be proactive to change rather than reactive? Hosni: I’m gonna try not
to be pessimistic. My first instincts will be it’s too late to be proactive, man.
But no, it’s not too late. You’re absolutely right but if we want to be
proactive we need to go back to Teachers College and then train our teachers to
actually implement that. Which do you think it’s the case right now? That’s my only concern that’s really my only concern. You know, when I first-
here’s… I don’t know if I should still tell that story.. but anyway what the hell
let’s do it. So I facilitate few courses at a university in California but when I
first came to North America I really wanted to teach kids and this is
how I started teaching in elementary school but I didn’t go to- so I was in
Toronto, I didn’t go to OCT, Ontario College of Teachers right? So I had to
have these kind of contracts called long term occasional teachers. All right at
some point I wanted to get my OCT certification so go through Teachers
College right? So there was like some kind of a program where they said, “Hey
listen, if you have a bachelor degree in Canada your teacher education thing is
just gonna last one year.” So you go through this accelerated program and
it’s awesome. Great so I was like, “Yeah great, I’m gonna register for that.” So
register for that, I pass a test. it’s great. it’s happening. Now they get back
to me and say, “Hey, we cannot accept you.” I was like, “why?” they’re like, “because your bachelor is not from Canada.” I was like, “yeah but I have an MBA, a master from Canada.” They’re like,
“Yeah but we want a bachelor in Canada.” I was like, “No, but I have a masters in
Canada.” He’s like, “No, but we want a bachelor in Canada.” I was like, “any
bachelors?” He’s like, “Yeah any bachelor, anything.” And I was like, “How do you want
our future teachers to be proactive when you have such a monochronic way of
thinking.” “Oh no I’m press- now I’m paid to press on this button.” And you’re like
“No no, but press delete and repress it.” They’re like, “No not delete that’s not me,
that’s someone else over there.” So this is where my concern- this is where I have
I have some concerns and I know I’m being very critical but it is really
important that we are critical. The reason why education is not changing
right now is because education has the monopoly. If education was a business and
if competition was out there… imagine if private schools-
imagine if private schools started giving classes for free. Do you think
your kid will go to a public school? I don’t think so and I know the
teachers are doing their best with whatever they have but at the top it’s
kind of really scary. It’s really really scary and I hope it’s going to change
pretty soon and I know I’m being very critical because I’m in this position
now where I can be critical but that’s also my role and we’re doing better than
any other countries except Norway or- but that’s not a reference
because guess what? They could do as low as us, we could be like at a very low
level but because we are the best at that low level we’re like, “yeah we’re pretty
good.No, not pretty good. Education hasn’t changed much. We need to really move it
as fast as communication has moved, as fast as transportation has moved, and
train people for the jobs of the future and not for the jobs of
yesterday and this is where our concern lies. Any question? Ooh this is cool. I’m gonna be um, I’m
gonna be telling jokes from now on. It is it is a tough subject I understand but
it is also important that we talk about it. This change is the most critical
thing that’s going to happen in the next 10 years if we teach them to absorb
the change it will be- we’ll have a chance. Audience Member 4: I’m just wondering ifyou can talk a little bit more about Norway because you mentioned how they’re a little bit
further ahead and what are they doing that you would recognize they’re a
little bit further ahead of their other countries as well too. Hosni: They actually at the
bottom of things- no, at the foundation of things. They are more predisposed to
change, they’re really what it is. They study, they have a really good design
thinking approach of education and they look at the world and they look at what
they have and they’re like let’s make some connections. They use right now, they try
at least, it’s a project they’re trying to use AI to determine where to
orient the kid, the orientation. Think about it. The orientation when I was in
high school I had a person who was in front of me and who hasn’t done
anything but orienting people and he’s telling me, “Hey, you need to go to this
path.” How do they know? Guess what, AI is going to know way better than that
person who met you twice last year. So no way. This is what they’re trying to do.
They’re collecting data on what people, what those students learn and how they
learn. They have a clear mapping of their intelligence – their predominant intelligence – and everything. The way they learn, the happiness level,
when they learn best: in the morning, in the afternoon, what do th- all that and
they are able to make a more enlightened decision about where to guide them. You
love this and this and this and that. We’re not going to tell you to pick a
job, we’re gonna tell you this is what you love and this is what you need to
look for in your career. But I was 17 when I went to med school,
it was a disaster, an absolute disaste.r I felt completely- I wasn’t able to
memorize anything why did they tell me to go to med school? They thought like
okay yeah, just go to med school. It was a disaster and then I became a nuclear
power engineer. By the way do you know how hard it is now for a nuclear power
engineer after 9/11 to move to California and work in California. It’s
just like, it’s super- yes. Audience Member 5: What you were mentioned about Norway using AI to actually train, so there’s a couple of key concerns there.
One, any biases? Number two, if we’re in a future where AI is determining where we
go… yes they can know us better because they have all these records of us even
the ones that weren’t digitized are getting digitized so yes, of course,
computers know us better but if they’re guiding us where we’re going we’re gonna
start getting into bubbles and traps and hey you come from this culture you
should be over this way because you’re a stronger worker, things like that.
I honestly think one of the biggest things for education is actually
cooperative education so actually going out trying some jobs, having experiences
that can be done inside of virtual reality where you’re like hey trying an
excavator. Experiencing things and through experiences helping to find
what you like, what you’re good at. And getting recommendations from AI?
Beautiful, fantastic. As long as it’s a guide saying, “hey, this is what we think
you’d be good at but where would you like to go?” I think that’s a key fact, Hosni: Honestly, I have nothing else to say because you said it all. That’s exactly
what it is. I’m not suggesting that AI will determine where you go but just
make some very broad suggestions. Suggestions that are based on data but
you’re absolutely right about the cooperative learning. These are the skills of tomorrow. It’s not going to be- basically take what a
machine can do what AI can do and train your kid to
everything that it cannot do. A machine , so far, cannot take someone’s hand and
feel what they feel… feel the warmth, they cannot do that. The
empathy, the collaboration, all that is extremely important. Like what is the
impact on the job market? I can tell you radiologists, big trouble.
Why? Radiologists, not only, but they sit in front of a desk and take a look at
basically an x-ray and all the radio and that AI can do. Nurses cannot be replaced. Impossible. You’re gonna replace a nurse? Do you see
a robot coming and taking someone’s hand? No, man, there’s so much nonverbal
communication that is happening in that interaction. There is, right now, no
machine can do that so you actually try to think about whatever the machine
will be able to do and train your kids on everything they cannot do. Philosophy,
music, do you remember those music teachers? Those guitar players, you know, that
we pay like 20 bucks to teach our kids how to play guitar? Well those prices are
gonna start rising pretty fast. Collaboration, art, even though right
before we talked about AI and art, you know, how AI is catching up on that.
It’s still going to be a human trend. One thing that is for sure is
basically, AI is not gonna be working on its own. It’s still gonna have to be
coded by a human but there is a huge bias in there too and this is why we
need people, philosophers, people who are more in the soft skills to actually get
in there. All this cooperation, collaboration, that is the key for
tomorrow. Question? Audience Member 6: So I just had a
question about how we can draw the ethical line when using AI because, for
instance, we work with corporate clients. We can also work with universities and
so, as you mentioned, AI learns from the data that is provided with and it’s
going to create its own rules, for instance. So how can we protect the
employee or the student or the teacher so that not too much information about
themselves is shared or used by AI and perhaps not with a crazy scenario but
against themselves? Hosni: You know this is a very very important question. That is
obviously coming second, you know, after “Hey let’s tackle this new technology.”
Kind of thing but you’re absolutely right. The ethical
aspect of what’s coming is key in there otherwise this digital
dictatorship is gonna happen way faster. But you can start by any engineer who
codes on AI, I want them – as much as doctors – to have, how do you call it in
English, [speaking in French] the Hippocratical sermon? -oath? The
Hippocratic Oath. For instance you start setting up something for AI engineers to
tell them, “Hey here’s what- these are the lines of conduct that you’re gonna have
to follow and if you don’t do it you’re gonna lose your license.” We have doctors,
we have surgeons who lose their license after doing something bad and actually
we have them more than we think, we just don’t talk about it a lot. Well same
thing with engineers. I don’t care how good you are if you mess up something
that will alter a kid’s life or an adult’s life just for the gain or for
profits or for more data you cannot code anymore. This is a good first
step but it’s not gonna be enough. It’s gonna be a constant race between
technology and security. Audience Member 7: But what they are willing to share? So, just
as we do on regular websites, I’d say or just giving them a notice
that some of their data is going to be used, are you allowing this and knowing
to what extent the data they use. Hosni: I wish there was a solution but you know what it’s been
stud- let’s take a look at insurance, insurance
companies. I can tell you that for sure pretty soon they’re gonna come up with a
Fitbit. Does anybody have a Fitbit or Google watch or whatever? Yeah this FitBit
kind of thing, they’re gonna say, “You can wear it, we’re gonna be able to track
everything and make you healthier or you can not wear it but if you’re not
wearing it your premium is gonna go off the roof.” That’s your choice. You want to
pay for insurance $1,500. No, I want to pay for my insurance a hundred and
twenty dollars, let’s wear the Fitbit. And on top of that, they’re gonna tell me
whenever I’m getting sick, best healthcare ever. So in terms of what am i
choosing to share or not unfortunately the most vulnerable people, the most
disadvantaged, they won’t have a lot of choice. I cannot pay $1,500 for each and
every one of my children I have, if I have like seven children, to not wear the
Fitbit and on top of that the Fitbit is going to tell me whatever my kid is
gonna have pneumonia or whatever. So I don’t see why
we don’t- why don’t I do it? This is where, relying on the user, I feel like it’s
already too late. That’s really what it is now. We won’t stop this train.
There’s only, and it’s pretty weird, you know, for North African like me to say that…
but there’s only one way to hijack a plane. You’re gonna have to be inside the
plane. It’s really, that’s the only way to to put it. We need to get on board with
this AI train and plane and go ahead with it but yeah these are very
important questions for sure. Time for one last question? Yeah.
The last thing- I wanted to finish on a positive note but for some
reason I can’t find my train of thoughts anymore. it’s all very pessimistic, please
go ahead. Audience Member 8: Hi, maybe this’ll help. I’m returned to school after 30 years. Took
me a long time to get used to the digital stuff but if I can do it, anyone,
can do it. So I’m a member- I’m not a teacher- I’m a member of a group where
there’s a lot of teachers who are complaining and they’re very angry about
even small changes to the system. What can I tell them because I’m sensing it’s
fear, not anger, but fear what can I tell them to inspire them to maybe think a
little outside the box, to at least open them. They’re in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and
they have grandchildren. What can give them hope that it’s not gonna be
apocalyptic, it’s not the end of the world, you know. Hosni: I think this fear, you know,
that they’re experiencing, first of all, they need to be aware of it and once they
aware of this fear of the future and the fear of this technology that they’re
gonna be possibly outdated where ,in fact you know, it’s honestly their choice. They
need to make the choice to say, “Do I want my students to experience the same fear
of change or should I prepare them for that to avoid that?” That’s the only way.
Using their fear to actually say, “Hey I don’t wish this on anyone.”
And training their students to actually be more prepared to jump from one job to
another to another technology to another way to do it. That would be key for the
future and obviously all of what I talked about earlier, the philosophy, the
ethics, all that is extremely important because if you take that away
from it, it becomes a real cruel cruel cruel world and you can see that, you
know, in different times in history. I remember that my parents, my grandparents, after living the French colonization in North Africa they.. I never really
understood. Why do I tell my child hey it’s okay to cry. Tell me how you feel, you know. Tell me, express your emotions and why did my parents and
my grandparents say no no no no no no crying, you’re a man, you don’t cry. That is a
complete result of Second World War and French colonization. We have no time to
be emotional! Well there’s a lot of places like this in the world where- in
fact there’s very few places like Canada – where we need to teach the next
generation to actually be more in touch with their feelings, you take that away
and all the coding is gonna happen. Basically, take a coder and you have two
types of coders. Let’s put it this way you have one guy who’s been raised in a
very stable family, loving family and another one who’s a refugee or war
refugee and they are excellent coders, they are kick-ass coders. What kind of
code is going to come from this guy or that guy? It’s gonna be very different. So
this is what you need to think about the next generation of engineers. They’re
going to design the world whether we have a chance to make them ethical, think
about philosophy, think about the future, think not only about Canadians, but the
entire world the human race or we’re gonna use AI for nationalistic, you know, battles and Serbs against Croats and Hutus against Tutsis,
and all that stuff. All that also can be used. Technology is like a religion
there’s no violent religion or peaceful religion. Don’t tell me that Islam, you
know, is violent and this religion- no. It’s humans. If your Islam is peaceful,
you’re going to be peaceful. If your technology, if your view of the world is
peaceful where your technology is going to be peaceful too. But if the other way
around works too. Thank you so much. Matt Humphreys: Round of applause for Hosni, and actually Hosni, let’s stay up here I have a couple questions for you if you don’t
mind. Hosni: Please. Matt: You said something that really struck a chord with me which is
that we- our methodology in the public school system is where the problem
happens, it starts, and we have to reinvent the way the teachers teach to
improve the way that our students learn and you mentioned something that I’m
sure for a lot of folks out there is pretty controversial. Which is the
privatization of our education system which really resonated a lot with me
because I would love to send all three of my children to private school because
I know it is going to be better and that competition just doesn’t exist when our
education system is a crown corporation. Are there any models out there that we
can look to that is privatized, you know, not a split system where that
is pushing education forward or is this just not happening anywhere. Hosni: I hope that
the alternative to this system that we have is not a private system.
I hope so because honestly its gonna be such a, well, it’s gonna be such an unfair
system. If you put everybody- or if you try to put the wealthiest in a private
sector and everybody else, you know, is just gonna have to follow. I hope it’s
not gonna be the case. But I hope there would also be other
alternatives and it’s also you teachers to figure out what are these
alternatives? It could be, obviousl,y the online. According to this report from
LinkedIn there’s like an increase of 29% more people from last year who actually
learned online versus on-site. Online is not perfect, I teach online as well. But
there’s a hope, you know, over there. What we gonna see, I think, if the online
starts picking up and increase their level of engagement and collaboration
with people, because it’s very isolated so far, what you’re gonna see is more
people going online, a standardization of the education but for the universities
we’re gonna see a drop of attendance except for Ivy League schools. Ivy League
schools are going to be even more research and even more praised. Why?
Because more and more people are gonna be like, “Hey, I don’t want a university degree.” Except if it’s from Lindsayat or Harvard.
Except that. Yeah, that I would go. So you have a mass of people going there.
Otherwise, they’re gonna be like, “University of Paris? Why would I do that?” Matt: There’s already a decline in enrollment in universities outside of that elite that
you mentioned already. Hosni: Yeah, already. Matt: It’s happening already.
Hosni: Absolutely. MattL Because there’s less value placed on these
middle range universities. It’s all about okay if you’re going to make a
difference, you have to go to Ivy League. Hosni: And actually, to counter that, what
they’ve done is universities and this is what voila learning my company’s really
focusing on… is how universities can put some programs online to actually help
more people. Universities right now they are limited or their revenue is limited
by the number of seats in the university. Well if you put that online not only you
can teach more people you have a bigger influence, but on top of that you will
reach out to people that would never be able to come to you whether because of a visa or because of money and so on and so forth. So you have like
Stanford, for instance, they have a lead program called the lead program they’re
reaching out to executives all over the world to take like this year-and-a-half
program where, honestly, it is really really good but it is fully online. If
you don’t want to go to Stanford ever ,as an executive, you can take the whole
thing online and it’s quite collaborative. So there are solutions
that are being tested as we talk and we will see a lot of
changes yeah for sure. Matt: I’m sort of selfishly asking these questions. Qe can
talk a little bit after, but you know one of my clients is Babble. Babble is
a language learning application for, mostly for, direct-to-consumer but
they’re seeing a divide in their business service offering. The
corporation’s want that face to face, they want someone to show up much more
than that individual sitting at home on their phone, you know, using the dopamine
to keep them addicted to learning language. A very efficient system, I
don’t think we can get rid of that in class, you’d mention a decline in that
but I think there’s sort of a divide where there are some folks
that just want that one-to-one communication. Hosni: Well what I’ve said-
Matt: -in a group learning or whatever we want to call it Hosni: No, no, for sure but you see… what what we’ve talked about for the past
hour is, basically, there’s a massive paradox and what I said is, “Hey,
online is gonna be the future.” Yeah, for sure is gonna be the future because it’s
gonna help so many people but in the meantime I said, “we have the skills of
tomorrow is collaboration.” Today it is really hard to be online and
collaborative, that’s why we working so hard at Voila Learning to build a
virtual reality campus where avatars can hang out and they can express emotions
and talk to other avatars and learn this way as if they were in a real campus.
There are alternatives but is true that if I had to make a choice okay between
collaboration and online tech and access to more education, I would go with
collaboration, that’s why the current system is not meant to disappear.
Absolutely not, it is meant to improve. I hope so,
towards that matter but we need to be aware of what’s happening in the future
and if we keep teaching our kids… I hate, you know, this example of multiplication
tables because I know that some – a lot of people – are like, “no, no, no, my kid needs to learn his multiplcation tables,” but anyway. Functions, actually bad example
because you need the functions. Next question – Matt: Algebra? Hosni: I mean it’s the base of AI. Ai is actually mathematic so… is there anything, well I mean, obviously there are many examples of what- it’s not about
what we teach, it’s more about how much time we spend on teaching those things
as opposed to we could use that time to teach more collaboration, more empathy,
more design, more organization. These are the skills of the future- Matt: Well and I
find that there are some subjects that just are better suited for one of those
two methodolog- I’m also a teacher – those two methodologies. Collaboration,
you know, there’s music for example. I hold a Bachelor of Music from the
University of Toronto and I can see the value of 101 or online
learning for technicality but there’s so much emotion
that you get through collaboration that I don’t see there being a divide
there. I see them cohabitating and complimenting each other for different
parts of that teaching and learning process, does that make sense? Hosni: You’re
absolutely right and for music as long as I mean until someone comes up with a
software that helps… actually it probably exists, you tell me, that helps student
music players let’s just say to play together but remotely and feel that
emotion that we- you and I would have if we had to play on the stage. Until that
happens… Matt: It’s sort of there at ten percent, right? Like there
are online jam session rooms and things like that but it doesn’t exist.
So I think we’re- honestly I think we’re very much far away from
replicating the power of a group playing on stage and I do it quite regularly and
I can tell you that there’s nothing that will engage you more as a musician
than collaborating and standing with someone else. Hosni: 100% absolutely. If I had to
choose collaboration would be the- that’s where I would go. You can’t turn
every student into an algorithm coder, right? It’s not the case but you
can take students and prepare them to be more empathetic, collaborative, aware of
the future, aware of the human race as opposed to I am this and I define myself
as this as opposition to that. That’s really where we need really to change a
lot of things. Matt: All right and with that, let’s wrap up. Thanks a lot Hosni,
round of applause. Appreciate it, thank you. We’re gonna do a little stage
changeover guys, we need to run the chairs up for the next one.

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