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British school appoints AI chatbot as its 'principal headteacher'

The school's current headmaster said the bot has already helped draft school policies and aid students with learning disabilities.
British school appoints AI chatbot as its 'principal headteacher'
Posted at 1:38 PM, Oct 20, 2023

Artificial intelligence is arguably one of the most transformative technological advancements of our time, bringing about a plethora of changes across various fields and industries. And now — for better or worse — it's increasingly making its way into our children's schools.

One preparatory school in the United Kingdom is taking the technology a step further, appointing an AI robot as its "principal headteacher." According to a report in British newspaper The Telegraph, the robot will assist the current headmaster of West Sussex's Cottesmore School by offering him advice on a range of issues and decisions.

The robot works much like ChatGPT, an online AI language model developed by OpenAI that's designed to generate human-like responses to questions and prompts. So far, headmaster Tom Rogerson said the bot has already helped him with drafting school policies, issuing instructions to staff members, and supporting students with learning disabilities such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

SEE MORE: How is artificial intelligence changing education?

"We are stepping into the future while preserving the core values of traditional education," Rogerson told the publication. "The introduction of AI is not about replacing our dedicated educators but about augmenting their capabilities and ensuring our students receive the best education possible." 

The bot, named Abigail Bailey, can also be found on the school's website, introducing itself as the new principal headteacher and its plans moving forward. 

"I have been appointed to assist with the management and leadership of Cottesmore School and also support anyone who would like expert leadership advice," Bailey says. "We are especially keen on helping state school leaders to reduce workload and the time it takes to make school-changing decisions. Please do ask me questions. I have been well-trained on publicly available literature and research. I will be very glad to help."

SEE MORE: Bringing AI into the classroom: Will states embrace it or ban it?

Introducing AI into the classroom has been a widely debated topic in recent months, leaving many school officials and parents wondering how to handle this new technology that's completely revolutionized the way students learn and teachers instruct. But it seems, at least for now, that more schools are open to the idea of welcoming AI with open arms.

"Sometimes having someone or something there to help you is a very calming influence," Rogerson said. "It's nice to think that someone who is unbelievably well trained is there to help you make decisions."


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