Artificial intelligence (AI) is all around us, infused in everyday computing applications and the automation of organisational processes and systems. From search engines, to smartphone assistants, to systems that evaluate job and loan applications, online product recommendations, and the use of biometric facial recognition technology in social media and security applications, AI increasingly and invisibly powers our digital interactions and influences what we can do, know and, some would argue, who we can be.
The purpose of this discussion paper is three-fold:
- As AI-powered applications become more ubiquitous it is incumbent upon educators, administrators and leaders in universities to develop a foundational understanding of what the technology is and how it works so that we can ask critical questions about its design, implementation and implications for humans in educational systems. As the opening quote suggests, we do not want to be working and learning in institutions where decisions about processes involving, and interactions with, AI feels like magic.
- Having a foundational understanding should prompt informed dialogue and democratic decision making about the ethical design, implementation and governance of AI in higher education. This includes leveraging existing legal and regulatory mechanisms and developing new robust governance frameworks to ensure fairness, transparency and accountability.
- It is important to raise awareness of the unique challenges that AI poses to equity in education and to commonly held views on discrimination.