“If a story can be written by a machine from data, it’s going to be. It’s really just a matter of time at this point,” he said. “But there are so many stories to be told that are not data-driven. That’s what journalists should focus on, right?” And we will, we’ll have to, because even our simplest moments are awash in data that machines will never quantify—the way it feels to take a breath, a step, the way the sun cuts through the trees. How, then, could any machine begin to understand the ways we love and hunger and hurt? The net contributions of science and art, history and philosophy, can’t parse the full complexity of a human instant, let alone a life. For as long as this is true, we’ll still have a role in writing.
In many ways, I think the same holds true for education. If an education can be delivered by a machine, it’s going to be. But so much of learning is filled with nuance and ambiguity, learning that the machine will never (?) quantify. If we focus on that, we’ll still have a role as teachers and as schools.