UK’s First Institute for Ethical AI in Education Launches at Speakers’ House

18 October 2018

A new Institute for Ethical AI in Education (IEAIED), based at the University of Buckingham, and launched at Speakers’ House, will tackle the hazards young people face due to the unduly rapid growth of new technology.

It is being led by Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham Sir Anthony Seldon, AI in education scientist Professor Rose Luckin and social impact entrepreneur Priya Lakhani. The Speaker of the House, the Rt Hon John Bercow, commended the new Institute at the launch.

Sir Anthony Seldon, who has written a book on the impact of AI on education, The Fourth Education Revolution, said: “We are sleepwalking into the biggest danger that young people have faced, eclipsing totally the risk of social media and other forms of digitalisation. The really frightening thing is that the Government is not stepping up to the mark, and the tech companies are eating them alive, making shamefully high profits, preaching platitudes while infantilising our young and exposing them to great dangers. AI could be a considerable boon if we get the ethical dimension right but with each passing month we are losing the battle.”

Professor Rose Luckin, added: “Ethical, thoughtfully designed and implemented AI could save education: from tackling the global teacher shortage to providing high quality education for everyone. The solution is at our finger tips, if only we are able to ensure that the ethical vacuum of much of today’s commercial AI development is filled with the practices, moral values and ethical principles that will ensure society in all its diversity will benefit. Ethics must be ‘designed in’ to every aspect of AI for use in education, from the moment of its inception to the point of its first use.”

Priya Lakhani, OBE, has seen the potential of AI to disrupt the ‘one size fits all’ model of education through CENTURY Tech, the learning platform she founded and built with a team of teachers, neuroscientists, and engineers. She said: “it is important attention is paid – by government, by industry and by the education system – to the ethical issues that arise from introducing AI into education. We must make sure all learners and educators are protected from the risks that unethical use of AI in education could bring about.”

The Institute has been set up because the growing volume and diversity of data generated raises ethical concerns about what happens to that data, who owns it, who uses it, for what purposes, and who is accountable for its interpretation and exploitation.

It will see how AI within education can be designed ethically. The aim is to make the UK a world leader in ethical AI for education by engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to protect the vulnerable and maximise the benefits of AI. The institute will look at how ethics can be ‘designed in’ to AI in education from the inception of an idea for an AI product or service to the adoption of that AI within society. It will also examine the purposes of a person’s education, in order to ensure that AI does not prioritise certain aspects of learning at the expense of others.

Advisory Board Members include Lord Clement Jones, Sir Tim O’Shea, Geoff Barton, Sherry Coutu, Gi Fernando, David Puttnam, Fiona Boulton, Vivienne Durham, Lucy Heller, Alan Winfield, Essie North and Ann Mroz.