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Experts encourage inclusive AI discourse on UA campus

Caitlyn Murphy
Members of the AI Access and Integrity Working Group held their first town hall in the Student Union Memorial Center on Sept. 6. The working group hopes to promote a campus-wide discussion about AI.

On Sept. 6, the AI Access and Integrity Working Group held their first town hall in the Student Union Memorial Center to discuss their work and future plans. More than 60 faculty and students worked for the group over the last summer. 

According to their website, “the mission of the AI Access and Integrity Working Group is to facilitate a campus-wide conversation focused on access equity and academic integrity. The rapid emergence of these technologies is creating opportunities and concerns that are best addressed through inclusive dialogue.” 

The group is composed of seven teams, including access and equity, integrity in education, AI and data acumen, syllabus guidance, training, industry and communications.

“As a university we have the ability to engage all the disciplines on campus,” said Arthur “Barney” Maccabe, executive director of the Institute for the Future of Data and Computation

During the town hall, a co-lead from each team took turns presenting their findings. 

The mission for the access and equity team is “to investigate and promote AI access and equity in the present and ensure it in the future,” said Linda Hollis, assistant professor of practice of psychology. The rest of the team’s mission statements can be found on the group’s website

“We came to realize ethics is the real intellectual battleground,” said Jamey Rogers, the integrity in education co-lead from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

As Rogers alluded to, the conversation about AI goes beyond just a science discussion.

“The technology part of AI is going to become the less important part, the ethics and human part is what is going to be important. The more interesting questions now are going to come from the social aspects,” Maccabe said.

“The word ‘artificial’ seems to have a special power when you pair it with other words, like ‘intelligence.’ It typically provokes controversy or wonder. AI works both ways, it inspires a sense of wonder and a sense of controversy,” Rogers said. 

Gretchen Gibbs from the Office of Instruction and Assessment is a co-lead for the syllabus guidance team. This team is dedicated to helping students navigate the evolving AI landscape by providing “clear, ethical, and effective guidance for every syllabus about how to use AI applications.”

“We want to provide a starting point and guidelines for the students,” Gibbs said. Guidelines for students and professors can be found under the resources tab of the working group’s website. 

“Experiment exploration and discovery is a part of this process,” Gibbs said.

The working group wants all students to feel included.

“If you don’t feel your voice is part of the conversation, let us know because everybody’s voice matters in this. We are at a transition point for society and humanity,” Maccabe said.

Students looking to connect, submit ideas or ask questions can do so on the working group’s website. 

“The goal here is to have a conversation across the entire campus and we hope to get more students involved,” Maccabe said. Anyone interested in joining the conversation can fill out a survey.

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