News  |    |  August 26, 2019

Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education: Applications, Promise and Perils, and Ethical Questions

News article by Elana Zeide.
Published in Educause Review.


What are the benefits and challenges of using artificial intelligence to promote student success, improve retention, streamline enrollment, and better manage resources in higher education?

What is artificial intelligence? In any discussion of artificial intelligence (AI), this is almost always the first question. The subject is highly debated, and I won’t go into the deep technical issues here. But I’m also starting with this question because the numerous myths and misconceptions about what artificial intelligence is, and how it works, make considering its use seem overly complex.

When people think about artificial intelligence, what often comes to mind is The Terminator movies. But today we are far from machines that have the ability to perform the myriad of tasks even babies shift between with ease—although how far away is a matter of considerable debate. Today’s artificial intelligence isn’t general, but narrow. It is task-specific. Consider the computer program that infamously beat the world’s champion in the Chinese game Go. It would be completely befuddled if someone added an extra row to the playing board. Changing a single pixel can throw off image-recognition systems. [ . . . ]

About the Author
Elana Zeide is a PULSE Fellow in Artificial Intelligence, Law, and Policy at UCLA School of Law for 2018–2020.