A Community Dialogue on the Intersection of Artificial Intelligence and the Humanities

Topics: Future of Learning

As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly prevalent, the Pittsburgh community is thinking about what it means for them. At the AI-Humanities Brainstorm Session hosted by Remake Learning and Pittsburgh AI, a diverse group of community stakeholders, including ranging from technology experts to people that were just curious about AI, delved into what AI can might mean for their community. The conversations were intended to surface what participants are excited for, what they are curious about and their general perspectives on AI, including its applications in learning, issues around equity and bias and more.

To jump start the discussions, we looked at KnowledgeWorks’ most recent forecast, The Future of Learning: Navigating the Future of Learning. The forecast explores an overarching of an era shift driven by exponential advances in digital technologies, as well as by five drivers of change that include:

  • Automating Choices: AI and algorithms are automating many aspects of our lives.
  • Civic Superpowers: Engaged citizens and civic organizations are seeking to rebalance power.
  • Accelerating Brains: People have increasing access to tools and insights that are reshaping our brains in intended and unintended ways.
  • Toxic Narratives: Outdated and misaligned systems and metrics of success are contributing to chronic health issues, including rising rates of mental illness among children.
  • Remaking Geographies: Communities are working to remake themselves in the face of deep transitions.

Given the focus of the event, we spent most of our time focusing on the Automating Choices driver of change and about the challenges and opportunities the driver presents. These include the excitement and hope of AI to help personalize learning, issues around bias in data when it comes to making decisions for or about students and the question of who might bear reasonability in cases where AI and other recommendation software prove to be flawed.

As AI continues its march into many aspects of our lives, including learning, ethical frameworks developed by cooperative groups of interdisciplinary professionals, policymakers, community members, educators and learners will be critical for assessing the risks, benefits and challenges of living in a world embedded with algorithms and AI. Conversations like the ones taking place in Pittsburgh are a vital part of generating such frameworks as they lay the foundation for creating cooperative, diverse groups to think through things together, as a community.

If you are in an education institution, how are you currently leveraging AI? What strategies might be needed when using AI in learning to help avoid sacrificing student and educator agency or deepening inequity? Who needs to be at the table when developing such strategies? What are you most excited by when thinking about AI’s potential uses in education?

In Navigating the Future of Learning, you will discover how current trends could impact learning ten years from now and consider ways to shape a future where all students can thrive.