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In AI & society

Our synthetic review of the relevant and related literatures on the ethics and effects of using AI in education reveals five qualitatively distinct and interrelated divides associated with access, representation, algorithms, interpretations, and citizenship. We open our analysis by probing the ethical effects of algorithms and how teams of humans can plan for and mitigate bias when using AI tools and techniques to model and inform instructional decisions and predict learning outcomes. We then analyze the upstream divides that feed into and fuel the algorithmic divide, first investigating access (who does and does not have access to the hardware, software, and connectivity necessary to engage with AI-enhanced digital learning tools and platforms) and then representation (the factors making data either representative of the total population or over-representative of a subpopulation's preferences, thereby preventing objectivity and biasing understandings and outcomes). After that, we analyze the divides that are downstream of the algorithmic divide associated with interpretation (how learners, educators, and others understand the outputs of algorithms and use them to make decisions) and citizenship (how the other divides accumulate to impact interpretations of data by learners, educators, and others, in turn influencing behaviors and, over time, skills, culture, economic, health, and civic outcomes). At present, lacking ongoing reflection and action by learners, educators, educational leaders, designers, scholars, and policymakers, the five divides collectively create a vicious cycle and perpetuate structural biases in teaching and learning. However, increasing human responsibility and control over these divides can create a virtuous cycle that improves diversity, equity, and inclusion in education. We conclude the article by looking forward and discussing ways to increase educational opportunity and effectiveness for all by mitigating bias through a cycle of progressive improvement.

Dieterle Edward, Dede Chris, Walker Michael


Artificial intelligence, Education, Equity, Ethics