Just about every one of us who has shopped on websites like Amazon.com has experienced re-targeted advertising messages that seem to show up on just about every other website they visit. If you haven’t experienced this phenomenon, then just look up a pair of shoes and notice how they seem to appear!
Predictive software is not only changing the way marketers reach prospective customers, it could also have a big impact on how students are perceived in the classroom. Developers of such programs contend that could open new opportunities to students, where they can’t help but succeed. But what is the negative effect on such technology?
Some worry that having a label attached to their academic file could put them at a disadvantage by being “written-off” by teachers and prospective colleges. If predictive software determines how a student will (or will not) achieve success, then why even enroll in a particular course of study.
A Worldview Issue
If we have the data and ability to predict who will do the best in college, then the religion of evolution would require society to select only “the best.” Students who are predictively successful will be the only ones who will be able to take advantage of the limited resources of higher education–the door will be closed on the remaining students before they even have the opportunity to achieve.
I wonder if in the future, some of the great thinkers, like Einstein, would be shut out of academia because of an algorithm.