Recess Blog

Are You Smarter than a Smartphone?

By Rob Schroeder
April 3, 2017

What will happen when the machines take over?

It's a semi-serious question based on both the realities of growing automation and the philosophical questions of what global society will emerge as with a growing role for artificial intelligence.

The College's Alfred Tatum, PhD, Dean of the College, was recently featured in Good Call analyzing a new study suggesting that the literacy skills of smartphones are set to leapfrog those of some 24 million American adults.

A student interacts with a lesson via his smartphone in a high school classroom.

Tatum tells GoodCall® there is often a link between quality of education and geography of opportunity – and illiteracy or semi-literacy levels are typically higher in urban and rural areas with high poverty rates. “While federal, state, and local policies have been legislated for more than 50 years to shape literacy reform efforts, the nation has continued to miss the mark with a large segment of the American population.”

He says the affected individuals may have a different view of the importance of literacy. “Many adults have lost confidence in reading and writing as tools of protection or view literacy acquisition as less immediate to their need for immediate economic and personal survival.” And since there’s not a national plan, Tatum says each state has the liberty to create its own strategy for dealing with this problem.

Read the full article.

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