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How Human Emotion Remains Vital To Getting The Best Out Of Machine Precision In Creativity and Learning

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Future Skills
Teaching & Inclusive Practices
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Tom Scott-Soundy, Alleyns School

Head of Digital Learning

Exploring the intersection of AI, music, and education, this blog evaluates the transformative potential of technology. While AI tools promise efficiency and novel opportunities, the essence of human emotion, cultural nuances, and individualised understanding remain. Drawing from the author’s global DJing experiences and classroom scenarios, this blog delves deep into the irreplaceable value of the human touch amidst technological advancements.

In the rapidly developing world of AI, a persistent question remains: does Artificial Intelligence stifle human creativity, or does it unlock new doors to expand the capacity of the human mind? 

In my life before education, I was lucky enough to live my ‘dream’ as an international DJ and music producer playing gigs in places as glamourous and far-flung as Hong Kong, Mexico, New York and L.A.. Now I look on as the music industry, loved by me and so many others for its timeless melodies and emotive compositions, stands on the precipice of the AI revolution. As we approach the edge, we are all searching to understand how AI will impact the artistry and flair that is integral to music. Will our artistry survive?

The Resonance of the AI Era

I think we can all agree that AI has ushered in a world of new opportunities in the creative arts. Algorithms and software, such as Boomy, Audio Shake or Adobe’s new Firefly generative model can now produce compositions, art or suggest modifications, increasing efficiency and widening the creative spectrum. However, while these models may replicate art, the outstanding question is: do they genuinely grasp the human touch or reflect the cultural nuances that come from the hand of a human creator?

Much like when a composer weaves emotions into a symphony, or a singer pours heart and soul into a lyric, some alchemy happens, an alchemy that we can’t always explain. Through this magic, I have always felt that music transforms into something more than merely a combination of notes or words. It becomes an evocative experience and a reflection of what it is to be human. A memory. A reflection, perhaps, of what we sometimes refer to as “soul” that can resonate with other people on a deeply human level. Taking the iconic record 'At Last' by Etta James as an example, I am always struck by the raw emotion and soul embedded throughout. James' soulful rendition, filled with years of emotion, is a testament to the depths of human experience. While AI may be able to mimic melodies or rhythms, the genuine emotion and soul, as evident in 'At Last', is a realm that remains uniquely human. It's this intangible essence, this magic, that I feel cannot be replicated or engineered by machines, no matter how advanced.

The Parallel with Education

Now, as Head of Digital Learning and Innovation at Alleyn’s School in South London, I often find there are similarities between the business of educating and artistry. Much like the music artist, an educator crafts lessons not just with knowledge, but with passion, dedication, and an understanding of each individual student's needs. AI, as seen with Century Tech and Noodle Factory, can provide data-driven personalised feedback and produce engaging content for lessons. But, even as a big advocate of AI, indeed it is a game-changer in my job, I wonder, can it truly replicate the ingenuity and subtle understanding of a teacher, who is able to mould young minds, fostering their creativity and individuality, being responsive to the nuance of emotion, understanding and interpretation? Can it replace what makes us unique – the instinctive connection between human beings? 

Drawing a parallel from my own experience, I found that DJing to crowds across the world differs dramatically - what a crowd in Mexico craves is very different from that of one in Hong Kong. One size does not fit all. The same can be said for AI. This very principle applies to AI in education. Our students draw on information diversely, through various channels and expressions, and AI can lay down the basics. However, the detailed art of teaching, understanding each pupil's uniqueness, and fostering their growth will invariably demand the irreplaceable human touch.

Subliminally, we might agree that teaching, like the arts, isn't merely about the end result—be it a lesson plan, grade or performance —but the human touch. It is about our understanding, empathy, and the ability to think critically and adapt whilst conveying concepts in a manner that resonates, much like a musical piece. It is about all pupils being seen, understood, and recognised in a classroom and about the way that human understanding and teaching can inspire the acquisition of knowledge and learning confidence and the development of values in the children in front of us. AI can’t do that. Humans can. So perhaps this new era will redefine skills and place even greater importance on human ‘soft’ skills than ever before. We will need to lean into what machines can’t do, as much as what they can!

Key Learning


Prioritising AI might overshadow the importance of human intuition and cultural individuality, risking a homogeneous approach to creativity and learning.