Building peace in the minds of men and women

Working towards an international community on AI in education

24 May 2019

As AI development strategies are set to fuel competition in public and private spheres, UNESCO is calling to build an international community with shared values on AI development and its use in education. This comes with a recommendation for Member States to promote equitable use of AI in education collectively by sharing AI technologies, programmes and resources for capacity building. 

This is one of the key recommendations of the Beijing Consensus on AI in education adopted during the International Conference on AI and Education, held the 16 – 18 May in China’s capital. It is set to be published in early June 2019.

The Conference consisted of three days of exchange among Ministers, representatives of international organizations, civil society and the AI industry on how to best harness AI for the future of education. The Conference attracted more than 50 government ministers, over 500 international representatives from over 120 Member States and almost 100 representatives from UN agencies, academic institutions, civil society and AI industry leaders.

President Xi Jinping shared a congratulatory letter emphasizing on China’s determination to tackle the AI transformation head-on, and foster high-quality AI talent and initiatives to integrate AI in the education sector.

He acknowledged the opportunities for cooperation that come with such deep-seated change; ‘’education transformations triggered by the rapid development of artificial intelligence have provided promising potentials to accelerate the achievement of the SDG 4 Education 2030 Agenda, and to enhance our confidence in reaching consensus and deepening cooperation.’’

UNESCO will continue working in cooperation with UN agencies, Member States, and public and private partners to support the development of common resources and shared values on this topic.

‘’On behalf of UNESCO, I invite all public and private partners to continue sharing AI knowledge, resources, and AI tools (…) we need to improve and scale-up the sharing of best practices,’’ Ms Giannini stated at the Conferences’ closing ceremony.

The Beijing Consensus is the first ever document ratified by Ministries around the world on how to best harness AI in education, and use it as a lever for the achievement of SDG 4. It aims to act as a guideline document for governments, international organizations and industry to steer AI policies efficiently and with foresight.

As said by Madam Sun Chunlan, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China at the opening ceremony, ‘’technology changes the world, while education shapes the future.’’

A common vision and shared values on AI in education will be key to deciding this future collectively.