The future of AI in schools with John Hattie, Dylan Wiliam, Arran Hamilton | School Leaders Project

The future of AI in education: 13 things we can do

This piece was originally published as the introduction to a working paper entitled ‘The future of AI in education: 13 things we can do to minimize the damage’ by Dr Arran Hamilton and professors John Hattie and Dylan Wiliam.

I first listened to the article here: How AI Could Bring Big Changes to Education — And How to Avoid Worst-Case Scenarios Edsurge.  More info here if you have a subscription. Tes magazine

  • Four Scenarios for AI and Education: The article presents four possible scenarios for how AI could affect education in the future, ranging from utopian to dystopian. They are:
    • AI as a tool: AI enhances human learning and teaching but does not replace them.
    • AI as a tutor: AI replaces human teachers, but human learners remain in control of their learning.
    • AI as a learner: AI becomes a co-learner with humans, sharing knowledge and skills.
    • AI as a master: AI surpasses human intelligence and takes over education and society.
  • 13 Recommendations to Shape the Future of AI and Education: The article suggests 13 actions that educators, policymakers, researchers, and society can take to influence the direction and pace of AI development, such as:
    • Regulate AI research and development: Establish ethical and legal frameworks to guide and monitor AI innovation and application.
    • Educate the public about AI: Raise awareness and understanding of AI among the general public, especially students and teachers.
    • Empower human teachers and learners: Enhance the role and skills of human educators and learners, and foster human-AI collaboration.
    • Promote diversity and inclusion in AI: Ensure that AI reflects and respects the diversity and values of different cultures, genders, and backgrounds.
    • Engage in dialogue and debate about AI: Encourage open and democratic discussion and decision-making about the future of AI and education.

Main Points:

  1. AI in Education Implications:

    • Concerns about student cheating with AI-generated content.
    • Opportunities for educators in tasks like lesson planning.
  2. Broader Debate on Education’s Purpose:
    • Paper titled “The Future of AI in Education” prompts discussion on education’s purpose.
    • Traditional credentials’ potential devaluation in a world with advanced AI.
  3. Four Scenarios for AI Impact on Education:
    • Banning AI: Unlikely, with potential disappointment and uncertain timelines.
    • Humans and AI working together: Risks of overreliance on AI, potential unemployment.
    • Brain upgrades (transhumanism): Speculative, with technical challenges and potential implications for education.
    • Humans disengaging, machines taking over: Shift in education’s purpose, emphasis on leisure-focused skills.
  4. Challenges and Potential Solutions:
    • Skepticism about AI in education, emphasizes the need for meaningful learning experiences.
    • Recommendations include criminalizing nondisclosure of AI use, monitoring AI safety, addressing bias, and ensuring transparency.
  5. Fast Progress and Policymaking:
    • Need for swift progress and effective policymaking in response to AI challenges.
    • Parallel drawn with historical issues like nuclear non-proliferation.
    • Emphasis on setting higher standards, global regulations, safety measures, and age restrictions.
  6. Positive Aspects of AI:
    • AI’s potential to provide insights into decision-making processes.
    • Contribution to understanding how human brains work.

Three Scenarios:

  1. Banning AI:
    • Unlikely scenario.
    • Potential disappointment before a ban, akin to historical “false dawns.”
    • Uncertain timelines for AI development.
    • Possibility of slowing down AI progress.
  2. Humans and AI Working Together:
    • Short-term collaboration narrative.
    • Risks of overreliance on AI, especially for non-experts.
    • A potential shift toward fully AI-driven workforces, leading to unemployment and economic challenges.
    • Discussion on creating “fake work” for employment quotas.
  3. Brain Upgrades (Transhumanism):
    • Speculative scenario.
    • Technological enhancements to match AI capabilities.
    • Ongoing experiments, like Elon Musk’s Neuralink.
    • Mainstream adoption is potentially 40 years away.
    • Potential implications for education, with traditional institutions undergoing changes or becoming obsolete.

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