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Preparing College Students for An AI-pervasive World

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Preparing College Students for An AI-pervasive World

In this article, Ali Hanafi explores the challenges and risks of an AI pervasive world and how to prepare college students for the future of work.

It’s fair to say that all of us, including the experts, have been caught off-guard by the exponential advances in Generative AI capabilities. Systems like ChatGPT can already generate surprisingly coherent text, while image generators like Midjourney can generate photorealistic scenes and artworks (although, as you can see above, I prefer sketches!).

The pace of progress in Generative AI is exponentially outpacing what experts forecasted just 5 years ago (see the chart below).

Generative AI promises both great convenience AND challenges and risks. It is essential for institutions of higher education to prepare students on how best to harness the benefits and be aware of the potential risks and trade-offs when using AI in their work and life.

Some of the challenges and risks of Generative AI are:

Proliferation of misinformation: Systems can generate convincing but false content.

Deepfakes: AI can create photo-realistic media forgery and manipulation. Criminals are using AI-enabled voice cloning to perpetuate scams.

Algorithmic bias: Systems can absorb and amplify societal biases present in training data.

How can institutions of higher education best equip students to deal with these AI-enabled transformations? Here are some key ways:

Emphasize Critical Thinking

With AI able to generate persuasive text and creative content, critical thinking skills become even more vital. Courses should focus on analyzing arguments, evaluating sources, and questioning underlying assumptions. Psychology and media literacy classes can also inoculate students against misinformation. Students need to be able to critique the output of AI systems rather than accepting it at face value.

Teach Data and Algorithm Literacy

Understanding how algorithms work and leveraging data effectively will be crucial skills. Courses on data science, machine learning principles and the ethical implications of algorithms should be offered. This literacy should extend beyond tech fields.

Key points include:

  • Teaching ethical and responsible AI

  • Encouraging Metacognition

  • Cultivating soft skills

Read the full article, Preparing College Students for An AI-pervasive World, on LinkedIn.