Artificial intelligence can help us to greatly improve learning

AI may lead to a fully autonomous economy. [iStockphoto]

By 2050, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) may lead to a fully autonomous economy. Unmanned vehicles, automated factories, and virtual assistants will become commonplace.

Routine and cyclical services like customer service and deliveries will be swallowed by AI-run systems. This shift has hit the education sector hard. AI-enabled systems like ChatGPT, Soro, Mora etc have engulfed the sector like a house on fire.

The process of developing an AI system may lead to certain predispositions in how patterns are detected and unfairness in how decisions are automated. Thus, educational systems must govern their use of AI systems. We need to exploit opportunities for using AI to improve education, recognise challenges that will arise, and develop future plans to guide further policy development for maximum happiness of the stakeholders.

Presently, educators seek technology-enhanced approaches that are safe, reliable and effective. This is important because teachers are exploring the use of AI-powered services in their everyday lives. These advances include, voice assistants in their homes, tools that can correct grammar, complete sentences, write essays, check plagiarism; automate trip planning etc. The exploration of these AI tools is actively immediate and dramatic once it becomes open to the public.

Indeed, opportunities to use AI-powered capabilities like speech recognition increases support available to students with disabilities, multilingual learners, distant and home learners etc. This is possible by aiding access and inclusivity to education through better personalisation in digital tools for learning. AI capabilities may be used to write or improve lessons, find, choose, and adapt material for use in classroom lessons. AI-driven systems can simplify administrative responsibilities such as grading, scheduling, and managing student records. AI advancements and innovations will make e-Learning more open and inclusive. Thus, AI is the future.

The flip side of AI relates to its powerful functionality which is packed with data privacy and security risks. AI’s automatic output can be inappropriate or wrong. AI algorithms may amplify unwanted biases including racism, crimes against women and children. The threat of deep fakes is too much to fathom. Representation of others’ work as ones’ own heightens ethical issues in education etc.

Educators are worried and alert of “teachable moments” and instructive techniques that are undetected or misunderstood by AI models. They say that AI and its algorithms cannot be fair. Everyone in education has a responsibility to harness the good to serve educational good. The State must guarantee that the dangers arising as a result of AI being integrated in education technology are eliminated or at worst minimised.

The Kenyan government lacks a single useful and dedicated legislation that governs the use of AI. The realm is covered by splintered laws and regulations. So far, there’s no proper framework for policy development in the field. Thus, the country should brace itself for the disruptions of AI in education. This includes academic malpractices using AI.

As a result, the State needs to intentionally devote itself to supporting, through a legal ecosystem, the exploitation of technology to advance teaching and learning. This is essential in nurturing and sustaining creativity and innovation throughout educational systems. Within this push, there is an apparent requirement for sharing knowledge and developing policies for AI beyond educational technology systems to include open access to the general public.

The right to education is a human right. This freedom can be enhanced if AI-powered systems and processes are adopted in a customised manner. To that end, the government must work towards a future that fosters a safe virtual economy. This does not ignore the challenges that AI presents before us today. We can leverage on the opportunities, including subsidising internet costs, to enable the common citizen to access knowledge online hassle-free.

-Dr Nyatundo is Assistant Professor of Law, Christ Academy Institute of Law, Bangalore

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