Top professors discuss AI ethics and education

2019-05-25

Two high-level professors on education research and advocacy looked into ethics issues of artificial intelligence (AI) at a university meeting on the evening of May 22.

Prof. Yuan Zhenguo, a tenured ECNU professor, head of the Faculty of Education, vice chairman of the Chinese Society of Education, and head of the Brain Sciences and Education Innovation Research Institute; and Zhao Yong, a distinguished professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and Victoria University, and Global Chair Professor of Bath University in the U.K., delivered lectures on the subject: Thoughts on AI ethics in education.

The lectures on the subject: Thoughts on AI ethics in education.

In his speech, Prof. Yuan noted the practical uses of AI in the education industry that are obtaining wider global attention as the production system and lifestyle of human beings have taken fundamental changes with the advancement of human civilization and knowledge. He listed his three major concerns about AI's ethical issues: the malicious use of AI, AI as a double-edged sword and potential risks of the technology.

Meanwhile, Prof. Yuan elaborated on the basic principle of AI ethics, emphasizing that AI applications in education should be human-oriented, secure, private, transparent and fair. He highlighted six ethical risks of AI application in education, including privacy, self-centered information cocoons, evaluation mindset, potentials shadowing, intelligence dependence and emotional neglect.

Prof. Yuan delivers his speech.

Prof. Zhao pointed out that the topic of Thoughts on AI ethics in education is a brand-new area with remarkable potential in the field of AI education. He analyzed the relationship between humans and robots, and stressed that ethical challenges of AI are in nature the competition between artificial intelligence and natural intelligence, and an extension of the competition between humans and robots.

To support his theory, he singled out several typical cases in his speech. He stressed that when it comes to AI ethics, people should not only ponder on whether to use AI, along with its advantages and disadvantages, but also on who will benefit from or be harmed by AI.

Prof. Zhao also referred to the misunderstanding about individual development in AI applications in education, which was met with enthusiastic response from listeners.

Prof. Zhao delivers his speech.

The lectures.

In the following talks, the two professors exchanged views on a wide range of topics, such as whether concerns about AI ethics come from from risks of the technology itself or the ethics itself, ethical problems as a result of application of artificial narrow intelligence (ANI) in schools and prospects of AI applications in education. They also answered questions from interested audiences.

Q & A.


Edited by Siyuan Zhang    Proofread by Joshua Mayfield    Reviewed by Wenjun Guo


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华东师范大学
East China Normal University