Back to the complete issue
Monday, 23 September 2019

Is China’s race to lead AI bringing Big Brother to the classroom?

Is China’s race to lead AI bringing Big Brother to the classroom? A multi-bn USD project in China constitutes one of the world’s biggest experiments in AI education, but the bid to boost the grades of 200 mn students comes at a high cost, this Wall Street Journal video suggests (watch, runtime: 05:43). Among several high-tech initiatives, the daily use of a brainwave-sensing gadget on groups of children aged around 10 is one of the most controversial. The device picks up on electrical signals sent by neurons in the brain, and feeds this data to a computer, where it is intended to assess the attentiveness of each student.

It generates powerful algorithms, but the data may not be fully reliable: Neuroscientists have expressed concern at this measurement — electroencephalography (EEG) — being used in a classroom. Not only is it notoriously susceptible to false readings, but there are likely no privacy protections in place for the students, and, with their every brainwave under scrutiny, many are feeling additional pressure. Teachers, however, say that ultimately the students are more attentive during class and achieve higher grades as a result.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of Commercial International Bank (tax ID: 204-891-949), the largest private-sector bank in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; and Act Financial (tax ID: 493-924-612), the leading activist investor in Egypt; and Abu Auf (tax ID: 584-628-846), the leading health foodmaker in Egypt and the region.