A recent market study shows that as AI tech penetrates the global economy, one of the key sectors evolving in response is education. In 2018 alone nearly $1 billion was spent on AI in education in the U.S. That number is expected to grow to $6 billion by 2025.
According to the report published by market research firm HolonIQ, “AI has the potential to deliver additional global economic activity of around $13 trillion by 2030, or about 16% higher cumulative GDP compared with today. Securing this economic growth, combined with the soft power an AI leadership role will bring any nation, makes it a major social and economic policy priority.”
The study shows that more than half of all leading educational institutions are actively integrating or pursuing AI solutions. Specifically, the report identifies five key use cases where AI is being deployed in education:
- Vision: emotional recognition is used to detect confusion or frustration in a learner’s face; facial recognition assists with identity management for test-taking and attendance documentation
- Voice: text-to-voice AI aids with literacy development as well as language learning
- Natural Language: as AI systems develop better understandings of the full complexities of language, they become more and more useful for providing feedback to language learners, assessing fluency, and detecting plagiarism
- Algorithms: the basis of adaptive learning; deep learning and machine learning create personalized pathways based on learner needs, while automation allows for the generation of notifications and recommendations that help learners achieve their goals
- Hardware: interweaving the entire process, hardware-based AI helps to reduce latency and lower networking costs, making IoT- and AI-based education systems more feasible and effective
The report goes on to note that China and the U.S. will account for 60% of spending globally. While Chinese AI tends to focus on engineering, agriculture, and technology spaces, American and European AI focus more frequently on humanities and health sciences. In places like South America, AI is used predominantly for English language learning, with students interacting with chatbots to practice skills.
In addition to K-12 in-school/extracurricular applications, the report highlights several career-based learning applications for AI that are seeing significant investment. While AI is poised to “revolutionize corporate training”, it is also helping companies even earlier in the hiring process by improving talent acquisition practices. More broadly, AI is assisting administrative processes both in the corporate and higher ed sectors to better manage increasingly large amounts of data, thereby informing smarter decisions and identifying potential risks.
Despite all this, HolonIQ co-founder Maria Spies says that AI in education has yet to reach mainstream status. Though investment and research continues to expand, “it hasn’t broken through in the general consciousness yet,” Spies said. But it seems that breakthrough is quickly approaching, and with it, a smarter era of education.