Focusing on ethics in AI education

31 October 2018

Stephen Hawking said that AI is going to be either the ‘best thing for humanity or the worst thing that has ever happened.’

Last week marked the launch of The Institute for Ethical AI in Education in the UK. Its founding team; Sir Anthony Seldon, Professor Rose Luckin, and entrepreneur Priya Lakhani are dead set on ensuring that it’s the former.

The Institute believes that as a society we are putting insufficient thought and effort into the ethical applications of AI. This is particularly the case in education.

Big Change is set to also be involved in this important conversation with a seat on the advisory board for the Institute.

AI certainly has extraordinary potential in this area. The future world of work for our young people is changing at a rapid pace and will be filled with opportunities – some of which we can’t even imagine yet.

In preparing our young people to be adaptable in such an environment, AI also offers opportunities to how our teachers manage their work loads, deliver classes, and in the skills and knowledge they teach.

However, the Institute believes that we should be aware of the dangers around such elements as use and ownership of personal data as well as the dangers of inbuilt bias in the interpretation of that data.

We should be bold about the opportunities for good ethical governance and of the benefits of working more closely with educators who understand teaching and learning.

Speaking at the event, Professor Rose Luckin said: “Ethical, thoughtfully designed and implemented AI could save education: from tackling the global teacher shortage to providing high quality education for everyone.

The solution is at our finger tips, if only we are able to ensure that the ethical vacuum of much of today’s commercial AI development is filled with the practices, moral values and ethical principles that will ensure society in all its diversity will benefit. Ethics must be ‘designed in’ to every aspect of AI for use in education, from the moment of its inception to the point of its first use.”

The door is open for the UK to be a world leader in the ethical application of AI in education so that it is a positive force of good for all; for teachers , for students, for the communities that these future leaders will live and work in.

Further reading: The No BS Guide To AI by Priya Lakhani and Professor Rose Luckin