You are perceptive in anticipating a challenge to the teaching profession from the Internet, computer-based learning, and ultimately from artificial intelligence. I do not believe that challenge is existential to teaching, but instead a challenge for teachers to learn these new technologies so they can be taught in the classroom and, if appropriate, used in the classroom to improve teaching efficacy.
I posit that there will always be a need for humans to teach other humans. Machines can be designed to help teachers teach and students learn, but only humans can design a complete, cohesive order of study for a subject tailored to any student or group of students, execute as required for each individual student, observe its effectiveness by individual, and adjust by individual.
I remember in the early 1980s when computers in the classroom were all the rage and Microsoft donated PCs and laptops to entire school districts to improve student learning and relieve teachers to do other important tasks. It’s been over 35 years since computers were introduced into classrooms and over 25 years since the Internet was invented and made its way there as well. So, you tell me if there have been any significant changes to the number, skill, depth of knowledge, and effectiveness of teachers in the last 35 years. In my opinion as a student in the 1960s and a father of students in the 1990s, there has not been significant change in teachers since computers were introduced to the classroom.
I hope this answers your question and helps to explain why. But wait, there is more. While researching this answer it occurred to me that beyond computers and Internet in classrooms, there have been several introductions of “disrupting” new technologies over the years that came with dire predictions for companies and employees already operating in those industries. However, like computers in classrooms, some experts’ predictions did not come through.
I’d like to share them with you to illustrate a point that as you grow you’re going to hear lots of experts predict things that do come through, come through a little bit, or don’t come through at all. My message is that even though these people consider themselves experts, in some cases you need to go through the data and decide for yourself. If you come up with a different answer, please do not automatically assume that your answer is wrong. Check your work of course, and talk with someone else about it, but it may be that you will find that your answer is correct.
Following are several examples of new inventions, date of invention or significant market penetration, and expert prediction of result and/or actual result:
(1) Significant improvements in computer data storage in the 1990s were predicted to revolutionize data storage and drastically reduce paper publishing.
(2A) Significant improvements in computer processing capability in the 1990s were predicted to automate many home, business, automotive functions, (2B) additionally, huge mathematical, scientific, and engineering problems, modeling, and analyses that used to take months now take minutes.
(3A) Digital audio and video processing and storage in the early 2000s was going to enable nearly “perfect” audio and video recording and reduce or eliminate live concerts, (3B) additionally, personally owned recorded media declined greatly in favor of online access.
(4A) Telephone, camera, phonograph in late 1800s were predicted to bring business people together and greatly reduce business travel, (4B) actually, the amount of business travel overcame any reductions and grew substantially because airplane travel became cheaper.
(5) Modern production car (Ford Model T) in 1908 would revolutionize personal transportation.
(6) World’s first major library in Alexandria, Egypt in 288 BC would be the world center for learning.
(7) Flip phone in 1989 and iPhone in 2007 would revolutionize personal phone and other communication device usage.
(8) Electromechanical computer in 1938, digital computer in 1946, PC in 1975, and laptop in 1983 would revolutionize everything.
(9) World Wide Web invented in 1989 would provide access to everything.
(10) Modern passenger airplane (DC-3) in 1936 would revolutionize personal long-distance travel.
(11) First academic conference on artificial intelligence in 1956 concluded that AI would be huge but has significant good features and bad features that must be addressed together.