Global Summit on the Ethics of AI in Education

AI in Education: A Focus on Learning

It’s a privilege to act as a catalyst in this working party on ethics in AIED today, and I mean that both to acknowledge my thanks to the Institute of Ethical AI in Education, and particularly Tom, for this invitation and as recognition of the privileged status we’re afforded.

  • How do we foster a learning technology ecosystem that places the right to education as central?
  • How do we develop practical reasoning around tensions in rights?
  • How do we understand the decision-contexts — social, organisational, and structural — in which data systems are deployed?
  • How do we augment human intelligence using data informed approaches for people?

Original (and longer) draft

My thanks to the Institute of Ethical AI in Education, and particularly Tom, for this invitation to act as a catalyst in this working party on ethics in AIED.

What do we mean by protecting learners’ privacy?

What are the core rights that protect and support learners, allowing them to benefit optimally from AI in Education?

  • Is learners’ data sufficiently protected by frameworks such as GDPR — or do learners need further rights? What safeguards will learners need from surveillance, intrusive assessments, and data being shared with employers (in the case of corporate learning)?
  • How do we foster a learning technology ecosystem that places the right to education as central? That means technologies that support teachers, understanding of learning processes (and research on this), and applications whose ‘legitimate purpose’ is education primarily (do we need more data and tech cooperatives in learning?)
  • How do we develop practical reasoning around tensions in rights? Our core rights are often in balance, and this is about human decisions, identifying where rights are in tension and selecting data, measures, and outcomes that matter. Data can help us monitor harms, such as wage discrimination or systematic differences in exam scores, but it can also be used for surveillance. We need to build our capacity for having these conversations and sharing them[1]

How can learners be empowered or disempowered by data-driven technologies?

  • Should there be a ban on using bias and/or opaque systems in high stakes situations? Is this possible?
  • In what cases could AI systems threaten learners’ autonomies? Where is the line between a helpful nudge and inappropriate manipulation? At what point do intelligent recommendations begin to determine learners’ futures?
  • To what extent can we ensure that humans remain responsible and accountable for learners’ outcomes?
  • How do we understand the decision-contexts — social, organisational, and structural — in which data systems are deployed? We need a deep understanding of the role of data and other forms of evidence in decisions, and the decision context. A focus on the data/technology is a red herring. The a-level fiasco provides a good example, the focus of our criticism shouldn’t be on the algorithm, but on an educational system that systematically produces different outcomes (and a decision to produce an algorithm to closely reproduce these in a decision context of…well, pandemic!)
  • How do we augment human intelligence using data informed approaches for people? Turning away from data certainly isn’t the answer, but we need to look at what our desired outcomes are. If we’re interested in learning, we should evaluate technologies based on how well they support learning, not on their accuracy (‘embracing imperfection’ as my colleagues called it), more explainable — but simpler — may be preferable, we should be able to interrogate the evidence for tools (an issue, for example, for remote proctoring systems), and that also means we need to build data literacy across stakeholders[2].

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Simon Knight

Simon Knight

262 Followers

I’m a lecturer/researcher @uts_ftdi interested in how people find, evaluate & use evidence.