There is an Isaac Asimov short story, Franchise, in which a single person with appropriate characteristics is selected by a computer to represent all the voters in the US, thus saving the trouble and cost of an election. That the Open University has developed an algorithm capable of predicting a student’s final grade after only one week of starting their course seems little different (The week in higher education, 30 July). One immediate effect would be that student debt could fall by some £26,800. However, since most of us are capable of working hard for one week, the number of firsts would undoubtedly rise.
Peter B. Baker
Farthings End, Prestwood
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