Telepresence alone isn't going to cut it, because "just watch the canned lectures" doesn't address the majority of what a teacher does in the classroom, and "be one of 200 students in a massive super-Skype chat with the teacher" doesn't either.Patroklos wrote:If you watched the video it's not just performing preprogrammed movements but rather using cameras. So once it maps out the grills hot/cold spots it will be able to reliably cook a burger to .1 degrees just using timers alone. If we start talking temperature probes and infrared cameras it will be in four star steak houses in no time. In this case though fast food just cooks the burger standard anyway.
This is inevitable, but just like car automation the workers are accelerating the process via severely misundertanding their industry. Fast food workers, though they employ a good number of people, still represent a small porption of overall paid wages as well as primary earners. Wait until they have advanced telepresence worked out and teachers become a expert niche field instead of a liberal arts sump (in this country, said as a liberal arts major). The same with large parts of the law profession. Even doctors actually. That's when it will start to be really noticed
There's been a tremendous pressure over the past couple of decades towards small-group learning, customized lesson plans on a per-group or even per-student basis, and careful observation and feedback to match individual learning styles, because all these things work objectively better than having a class of thirty-plus kids told to sit and take notes while the teacher drones "mwa-mwa-mwa-mwa-mwa-MWAAAH" all period. The profession hasn't uniformly reached that standard yet, but that's where the trend has been pointing. Basically, the teaching profession is aware of all those late 20th century high school dramas with the boring incomprehensible uninformative teachers, and has been working on how to do better for all that time.
As a side effect, this means that for a lot of classrooms, the only way you could replace what the teacher-classroom set does is if:
1) You use the telepresence to create a precise virtual duplicate of the classroom only using the VR environment to allow for cool Ms. Frizzle type stuff, which would be awesome but doesn't reduce the number of teachers you need. Or...
2) All the students suddenly develop adult-level motivation and willingness to work independently in order to learn, and start working actively for more hours a day than they normally do under the current system. That's... probably not going to happen.
It works better at the university level, but that's because university professors aren't trained as teachers as a rule, and the university model has always been based on the assumption that the students are mostly on their own to figure the material out while the professor mainly provides a source of canned explanations to the complicated subject material plus a few hours a week of office hours just in case someone trips over a problem they can't solve. Plus, you know, the norm in a lot of college classes already being "200 students in a lecture hall," at which point you have realistically no teacher-student interaction and you lose nothing by going to Skype. I mean seriously, by professional standards the teaching practices at the average university are terrible, the only reason they can quickly convey much more advanced material is because the students are more mature (and selected to pass minimum academic requirements).
I think the real concern is that if America keeps proceeding in a Trumpward direction (resulting in something like the dystopian future from Back to the Future II only with Donald Trump cast as Biff Tannen), we might see a collapse of free public education into a half-assed telepresence-based system, while costly private education keeps working on the traditional model because, well, it continues to objectively work better. This would have the effect of further firming up class divides, and is actually something I am seriously alarmed may happen now that I think about it.