The development of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is emerging at lightning speed — so much so that the Biden administration just issued its first ever A.I. executive order regarding safety, labor, and civil rights issues.

A.I. is already changing education in unimaginable ways—and it’s cause for great concern in education, especially around the potential for widespread misuse of leading-edge AI software, which have led to suspicion, cheating, and bans. There is an urgent need for school districts and higher ed institutions to establish policies regarding A.I., and for teachers and students to understand its benefits—and its pitfalls.

But as this technology booms, questions of educational justice and ethics arise, such as:

  • What ethical ways can A.I. be used to boost student learning and not replace it?
  • What can be done to eliminate the bias coded within AI programs?
  • And will students of color and those from low-income households have equitable access?

The data paints a sobering picture: Research shows the divides in access to computers and broadband fall along racial and economic lines and that  A.I. algorithms exhibit biases.

EdTrust is concerned with equity and ethics involved and how A.I. will affect Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds. We want to ensure:

  • All students are given access to the tools needed to succeed in the technology-fueled workplace
  • Students are taught A.I. technologies that represent diverse perspectives and backgrounds
  • A.I. supplements learning, not replaces it

Students and communities of color — and the schools that serve them -— need to have a comprehensive understanding of A.I.’s impact, both positive and negative, on education so they don’t get left behind. This knowledge will empower educators, students, and their families to actively engage in shaping the future of education and advocating for their needs — including access to digital resources and high-quality technology infrastructure.

March 4-7, 2024, EdTrust will be hosting a panel discussion at SXSW EDU to explore the intersection of A.I. and education equity, and its impact on students of color and other students from low-income backgrounds. In this session, we’ll explore the steps needed to ensure academic tools, pedagogies, and content reflects the broad cultural and neurodiversity of student populations and ways to prevent the emergence of a new digital divide.

AI: Avoiding the Next Digital Divide
March 7, 10 am CT, Austin Convention Center, Room 9C

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