The Boundaries of AI in Education: Highlights from PACL’s Conversation on AI with Dr. Anthony Chow

The rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have sparked global discussions on its applications and implications across various sectors. One such dialogue took place at the Palo Alto City Library, where Dr. Anthony Chow, the Director of the School of Information at San Jose State University, shared his insights on AI and higher education.

Dr. Chow is a technology optimist, but he did have a few warnings about how the technology could lead to problems.

According to Dr. Chow, there is a real concern that students will increasingly lean on AI in ways that bypass the rigorous process of critical thinking and personal reflection that is key to true learning. Misinformation and 'AI hallucinations' also threaten to contaminate academic output with fake citations and falsehoods that find their way into research papers.

Furthermore, the idea of data bias in AI is also a matter of great concern. AI models, like ChatGPT, are trained on vast amounts of data. But whose data is it? If these data sets lack diversity or are inherently biased, the AI's recommendations and answers will reflect those biases. This underscores the importance of inclusivity and diversity in the data that AI systems are trained on. We need to ensure that the voices and experiences of all groups are represented in the data pipeline.

However, it's not all doom and gloom. If used responsibly and ethically, AI has the potential to revolutionize many sectors, including education. But, as with any technology, there are potential pitfalls, and it's up to us, the educators and the users, to navigate them responsibly. Moreover, human beings might be able to harness AI to achieve scientific breakthroughs much faster, resulting in benefits to everyone.

At PACL, we will continue to explore this topic with our community and we invite you to join us for our AI programs, workshops and conversations. See AI at PACL for all the AI-related events and resources available to our community.