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Futuristic report gives vision of learning technologies


A futuristic report, which gazes into what learning technologies will look like, is being launched today by professor Lord Robert Winston. It predicts we will all have digital personal assistants, learning will on the move, and palm held, and artifical intelligence and machines will have a greater influence in training. Imagine, for example, practising your counselling or leadership skills in a 3D world?

Although it may all sound far fetched, the reports authors say that the technology is there - led by the world of gaming. "A Holy Grail will be to convert the energy and time devoted to immersive virtual environments (Second Life) and Massive Multiplayer Games (Word of Warcraft) into learning environments and outcomes," says one of the authors, professor Nigel Shadbolt.

In the report, published by learning provider Ufi, Dick Moore, UFi's director of technology, predicts that in just 20 years time we will all have access to digital 'personal assistants'.

In his vision of the future he says: "With automated systems we will not only be provided with the relevant knowledge but have it pre-digested for us."

"Because your PA understands you and knows what you need to learn, the information it provides you with on a daily basis will be tailored to augment your skills and knowledge in much the ame way that word processors assist us with our grammar and soelling today"

He adds: "As the UK is forced to compete more on skills and knowledge, digital PA and AR (augment reality) technologies will help boost skills and employability."

"Though to some these predictions will sound far fetched, the truth is...the technology exists but has yet to brought together into a single package that benefits learners."

Futurologist Ian Pearson's vision is of an increased use of artificial intelligence (AI), and more reliance on machines, in areas that we may previously never have thought of.

"Soon, computer display panels will be replaced by video visors, giving a 3D display that will be used to immerse people in computer generated worlds, where they can interact and explore with other real or simulated people. In learning, it will allow people to practise inetarctions such as counselling and leadership in safe environments," he says.

The report entitled - Skills Evolution: A vision of the future of workplace skills - will be launched at the British Museum in London, with a keynote address by one of the report’s authors, professor Lord Robert Winston.

The report, which has been commissioned by Ufi, which provider skills and learning through technology, has brought together world-renowned futurologists and scientists to predict the impact of emerging technologies on the way people learn, and the effect this will have on society and the workplace by 2020.

Its authors are:

* Professor Lord Robert Winston, professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London, broadcaster and populariser of science

* Ian Pearson, multi-award winning futurologist

* Professor Nigel Shadbolt, deputy president of the British Computer Society

* Professor Wendy Hall, professor of Computer Science at Southampton University, and member of the prime minister's Council for Science and Technology

* Dick Moore, director of technology, Ufi


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