AI & Education: an online workshop for UNESCO’s Recommendations on the Ethics of AI

August 12, 2020
Virtual

The COVID-19 pandemic offers the chance to reflect on the opportunities and challenges of using AI and digital technologies for education and learning. As a result of new lock-down measures, thousands of classrooms across the world have closed causing millions of children to turn to alternative methods of learning online. Can this sudden shift to online education enable learning at scale and boost the uptake of new technologies? Or does this exacerbate existing social inequalities, leaving behind those who do not have access to technology? The topic of education is increasingly associated with the use of new technologies, such as AI. 

With these considerations in mind, The Future Society organised an online deliberative workshop around the topic of AI & Education. It used this theme to discuss and evaluate some of UNESCO’s recommendations on the ethics of AI. 

This effort will feed into UNESCO’s standard-setting instrument on AI ethics. Via online deliberations, UNESCO is seeking citizens’ input to develop a comprehensive, inclusive and participative text. In this spirit, Mila and Algora Lab have been mandated to carry out a series of online deliberations around the world. The Future Society has partnered with them to organize a deliberative workshop, specifically aimed at collecting the opinions of citizens of the Middle East.  

With over 60 participants and 3 discussion-groups, our discussion marks a step towards integrating citizens’ voices into AI governance. Participants were able to discuss, amend and evaluate the relevance and applicability of UNESCO’s recommendations in the field of AI & Education. We have summarized key takeaways in a report that will be further curated by Algora Lab, and feed into UNESCO’s standard-setting instrument on AI Ethics. 

Being proud of the event’s outcome, we would like to extend a big thank you to our speakers Rose Luckin and Amjad Khan, as well as our partners Alef Education, Algora Lab, Mila, University of Montréal – and all of our participants! Within The Future Society’s team, a big thank you goes to Marta Ziosi, Sacha Alanoca, Niki Iliadis and Nicolas Miailhe for organizing the event.