Mar 3, 2023
AI and Internet provide numerous possibilities for learning. Would there be future for a human teacher? What is the role of teaching and research in a university? Why should PIM cherish its “work based” philosophy? Prof. Dr. Tang Zhimin, Director of CASPIM, commented in his recent article for Nanjing Tech University Pujiang Institute (NTUPI), a sibling institute of PIM in China:
AI and Internet will enable the circulation of knowledge by helping us searching and organizing information. The recent progress of ChatGPT shows the capabilities of AI to understand and speak in natural human languages. However, AI and Internet could not displace a human teacher if we recall the role of a teacher in Chinese tradition: 传道 (Chuan Dao), 授业 (Shou Ye), and 解惑 (Jie Huo).“Chuan Dao” means to carry on the “spirit”, the right way of life. Robot does not have moral judgment, but humans do. In time of difficulties, we need virtuous and courageous leaders.
The great human spirits may carry on only by humans; “Shou Ye” means to build up a “career”. To understand and solve problems in a career of human society, we need a human touch based on accumulated tacit experience of human culture. For disruptive innovation, neuroscience may also yet to fully understand how intuition is generated beyond algorithm and explicit data. “Jie Huo” means dispelling “confusion” in an explosion of information in Internet with a sound judgment.“Chuan Dao, Shou Ye, and Jie Huo” explains the essence of teaching and learning, and why it is still the core business of universities in the era of AI and Internet. On the other hand, teachers and students in universities should also be encouraged to engage in research, as it expands our vista from known to unknown, and applies the knowledge and skill acquired in the research process.
However, the integrated teaching and research should always be guided by “practice in the real world”. It is the source of inspiration, a playground for deliberation and proficiency, and the touchstone for truth. That is why PIM pioneered and cherishes its philosophy of ““work based X”. Here “work based” indicates the practice orientation, X encompass all areas of its competencies: the integrated teaching, learning and research.