The Ethical Challenges of AI-Powered Education Technology

By Srikanth
5 Min Read
The Ethical Challenges of AI-Powered Education Technology 1

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming several industries today, and education is not an exception. It offers several possibilities for enhancing learning and pedagogy, facilitating personalised instruction, improvising assessments, and increasing access to quality education. As a result, there has been a splurge in the adaptation of AI-powered education technology, which in turn has given the technology significant growth in the education sector. According to a report by Global Market Research, AI in the education market stood at USD 4 billion in 2022, which is poised to grow at a CAGR of 10% in the coming years.

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Despite the several advantages AI provides for educational institutions, it also possesses a few ethical implications that need to be carefully addressed by the participants. The challenges in educational technology revolve around algorithm biases, privacy, accountability, and transparency.

Algorithm biases and discrimination

Biases are a significant ethical challenge in education as they can lead to stereotyping and judgement, resulting in hampering the progress of a student. In terms of AI systems, they are trained by humans and are likely to reflect their biases and prejudices. It might lead to unfair and discriminatory outcomes for certain groups of learners or teachers. For instance, if AI is trained on the basis of data predominantly from students of a specific demographic, the recommendations and instructions might not be beneficial for learners from a different background. As a result, it can inadvertently perpetuate inequality in education.

Privacy and data protection

Students and teachers create digital footprints whenever they interact with these systems by either submitting assignments, uploading educational information, participating in online discussions, and more. Therefore, AI systems tend to collect, store, analyse, and process a mammoth of crucial information, including academic performance, behaviour, preferences, location, or more. This might pose a risk to the data and privacy protection rights, especially if the data is leveraged for other purposes such as commercialization, profiling, and more, rather than education.

Accountability and transparency

Another ethical challenge that AI-powered education technology possesses is accountability. As the outcomes are based on the data that is captured, the opaqueness makes it challenging to hold them responsible for their actions. Regardless of the fact that AI systems are reliable for several functionalities, they are still a black box as their decision-making process is not easily interpreted by humans. Here, it is a possibility that AI might operate in a complex manner that might be daunting for students, teachers, or other stakeholders to comprehend. This might limit their ability to trust, verify, or even challenge the outcomes provided by the AI.

Potential solutions

The ethical issues related to AI in terms of bias, privacy, accountability, and transparency must be strictly addressed to protect human rights and dignity, maintain the effectiveness of education, and foster inclusion and equity. This can be efficiently done by following a multi-stakeholder approach that involves effective collaboration between educators, policymakers, researchers, developers, and others. Collective decision-making must focus on developing ethical frameworks, implementing ethical standards, promoting awareness, and strengthening ethical governance and regulations. These steps are likely to aid decision-makers in negating the ethical challenges of AI systems and refining them to make them more reliable, trustworthy, and efficient.

All things considered

AI in education holds great potential for enhancing learning for students; however, ethical considerations become crucial simultaneously. The need of the hour is to implement the latest AI-powered educational technology while taking human rights, dignity, inclusiveness, equity, and ethics into consideration. It significantly requires a dialogue between all the stakeholders to devise reliable solutions, policies, frameworks, and regulations.

As we harness the power of AI in education, we must navigate these ethical waters with care by promoting human intervention so that the technology is used in a more humane and responsible manner. By doing so, we will ensure that AI-powered education not only protects students’ rights but also fosters a transparent, equitable, and reliable learning environment.

Article contributed by Mr.Muddassar Nazar, CEO, Birla Brainiacs

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