Bristol University announced this week that all personal tutors will be replaced with a nameless, faceless, virtual assistant by September 2018.
Students will now be asked to download an app containing the ‘impersonal tutor’ during Welcome Week and input basic information about themselves: name, gender, halls of residence and course.
Over the course of their degree, students can update the app with new information, such as their grades, and select pre-set life events as they occur, like the death of their childhood dog.
Impersonal tutors will be pre-loaded with information about different courses, so they can offer objective and impersonal advice throughout students’ time at University. Students will also be able to select the voice and accent of their impersonal tutor – something they couldn’t do with the old, human style of tutoring.
The Whip was given exclusive access to try out the new technology:
TW: impersonal tutor, I’m thinking about dropping out of uni.
Impersonal Tutor: I will consider this.
TW: thank you.
Impersonal Tutor: here is a list of job vacancies with a 50-mile radius of your location.
TW: I’m really struggling with my workload at the moment.
Impersonal tutor: try breathing in and out ten times slowly, a cup of tea, and a short 15-minute leisure break.
Hugh Brady has been accused of implementing the new plan in response to the recent UCU industrial action. It would be to Brady’s advantage that the impersonal tutors will not even be able to form unions in the first place because they don’t require pensions.
Brady has denied the accusations, claiming that the plan is ‘absolutely necessary’ to ensure students have less contact with human beings, and expressed his hope to replace all University staff with various forms of bizarre technology by 2023.
Fran Golinski Drinkwater