As I mentioned in my previous blog, in our discussion today Dr. Graham asked this question: “How is interacting with a machine different from interacting with a human?” It is important for us to think through this as we formulate ideas about blended learning (BL). In BL, some learning is done face-to-face, and some is mediated by computer or other technology.
I’ve actually put this question out on Twitter and Facebook; I’m guessing, however, that I’ll get few bites to discuss on a Friday night! 🙂 But I would love to hear others’ ideas.
Here are some things we did talk about:
- complexity: One reason I hate getting an automated response on the telephone is that I am suddenly limited to pressing 1, 2, or 3 (etc) for my choices. Sometimes I feel that my concern fits none of them, or overlaps with multiple options. I want a human, who can deal with the complexity I see to my question. So I press 0, of course! 🙂 Humans offer understanding and adaptability, elements of complexity, which machines do not.
- reciprocity: We’re still figuring this one out. Because a computer can be reciprocal. Sometimes, it can give back-and-forth feedback a lot faster than a human could (at least on multiple choice!). Some computers (so-called automated agents) are getting surprisingly close to behaving in human-like ways. (And sometimes we humans can behave very machine-like!) Is there a better term to use here for the give-and-take, back-and-forth interaction that occurs between humans and which computers or machines are not capable of?
Machines do have certain strengths:
- computation (there are more, but this was all we listed so far)
Humans have strengths, a few of which include:
I’d love more input. What do you think are the differences between interacting with a human and interacting with a machine? When is a machine better (or at least, more efficient in terms of cost/time/etc)? When is a human better?