How We Learn Naturally

January 30, 2020

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Human beings have made extraordinary strides in preserving information and sharing values, wisdom, and culture from generation to generation. Our inclination to share our observations and experiences through story, through drawing, through equation is foundational for human progress. Meaningful knowledge always guides and inspires. With each discovery, each innovation, we aspire to achieve more, but achievement depends upon content.

We live in an age of content. With readily-accessible information comes speed and impermanence, a technological palimpsest ruled by Snapchat and a generation of swipers. Text and images flash across a screen one moment, and in the next moment, the content vanishes. Our minds aren’t built this way. Human learning and intelligence follow natural patterns that require time, repetition, and experience. We are more effective learners when we do more, not less, when we engage, not swipe.

Mastery of ideas finds a fitting metaphor in the form of a spiral staircase. In the learning process, content is introduced and extended before it is comprehended and refined by each learner. Spiral learning, however, takes time. The massive accumulation we see in the forms of libraries and museums, in colleges and universities, databases and servers, takes time, and the caliber of each establishment depends upon content.

What do we elect to learn, and why?

In light of the disparities of the world today, education remains one of the golden roads towards building a more equitable future. As Minouche Shafik, head of the London School of Economics and former Bank of England policy maker, recently explained, “All roads lead back to education. […] We know that the highest returns are at early childhood, and the benefits of very young children getting taught how to learn and having good cognitive development in the early stages has payoffs throughout their lives. And in many ways, if you want to equalize opportunities, those early stages are the most important.”1 Access to high-quality educational content improves the lives of people and of their communities by providing enrichment and exposure at the right time, and by empowering learners, especially early on, through adaptive learning.

Thought leaders in artificial intelligence agree. As Dr. Song-Chun Zhu, UCLA professor of statistics and computer science, explained in a recent interview, “I believe improving education is an important engineering problem in the context of social justice, i.e., tackling social immobility, income inequality, etc. Today, we can understand cancer and are developing effective therapies, but ironically we don’t have a computational cognition model for how the education process works. I hope that AI can help improve the efficacy of teaching and assessment, and bring low-cost solutions to early education.” Smart solutions that promote effective learning are within reach.

“I believe improving education is an important engineering problem in the context of social justice, i.e., tackling social immobility, income inequality, etc. Today, we can understand cancer and are developing effective therapies, but ironically we don’t have a computational cognition model for how the education process works. I hope that AI can help improve the efficacy of teaching and assessment, and bring low-cost solutions to early education.”

Dr. Song-Chun Zhu

UCLA Professor of Statistics and Computer Science

At DMAI, we apply cognitive AI to high-quality educational content to create adaptive learning environments. We begin this auspicious journey by supporting parents with toddlers seeking to provide their little ones with enriched learning solutions from that precious moment they can sit up and begin to explore the world around them. Our unique solution to learning combines next-generation software, hardware, and our original series.

“Learning without thinking is indiscriminate, thinking and not learning is laziness.”

– Confucius

“All roads lead back to education. […] We know that the highest returns are at early childhood, and the benefits of very young children getting taught how to learn and having good cognitive development in the early stages has payoffs throughout their lives. And in many ways, if you want to equalize opportunities, those early stages are the most important.”1

Minouche Shafik

Head of The London School of Economics and former Bank of England Policy Maker

It is a joy to watch the first users of AILA Sit & Play learn naturally, using all their senes. With this small, yet important first step, we aim to lift humanity.

Dr. Delano Copprue
Editor-in-Chief
DMAI, Inc.

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1Minouche Shafik, “Evidence of Decline in Social Mobility is Clear: Shafik” on Leaders with Lacqua, September 2, 2019, London: Bloomberg.

Kid playing with AILA Sit & Play

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