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Interview: Five questions on equitable, inclusive and transparent use of AI in education

17 May 2019

The International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Education in Beijing, China (16-18 May 2019) is exploring the opportunities, as well as challenges related to education in the AI era. AI is producing new teaching and learning solutions that are currently being tested globally. UNESCO promotes equitable, inclusive and transparent use of AI in education to ensure that no one is left behind.

Borhene Chakroun, Director of the Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems at UNESCO answers five key questions on the use of AI in education.  

  1. How can we ensure that AI technologies are developed to respect privacy rights and guarantee transparent and ethical use of data?

Today we are facing dilemmas of balancing between open access to data and data privacy protection, hence we need to adjust existing regulatory frameworks or adopt new ones to ensure responsible development and use of AI tools for education. It is also important to raise awareness and facilitate open debates on issues related to AI ethics, data privacy and security, and concerns about AI’s negative impact on human rights.

  1. How can we promote geographical and gender balance in data collection and usage?

Several actions can be considered including ensuring that the data used for AI development are gender-sensitive and that AI applications drive the promotion of gender equality; we need take institutional actions to promote local collection and processing of data.

  1. How can we ensure that the skills needed in the AI era are developed and provided around the world?  

We need to update and develop new mechanisms and tools to anticipate and identify current and future skills needs in relation to AI development, in order to ensure the relevance of curricula to changing economies, labour markets and societies. Integrate AI-related skills into the curricula at all levels, particularly qualifications of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and higher education.

  1. How can we ensure that those without access to technology infrastructure are not left behind in the AI era?

We need to mobilize international community, technical and financial partners, private sector to support investment in infrastructure and connectivity and find appropriate technological solutions to access learning and learning resources off-line as well.

  1. How can we strengthen international cooperation and partnership to promote the use of equitable and inclusive AI in education?

First, I think it is important to give special priority to Africa, least-developed countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and countries affected by conflict and disaster. Second, we need to provide adequate platforms for international exchange of what works including policies, regulatory frameworks, instruments and approaches for AI in education.

UNESCO’s International Conference provides a unique platform for international organizations, government ministers, Member States and civil society to come together on this crucial global topic. Learn more

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