Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are everywhere. In your phone, beating chess champions, and helping a flower shop improve business.

It is also here at Macquarie. Mai (Macquarie Artificial Intelligence) is a chatbot being run in the Faculty of Human Sciences.

It is a beautiful and elegant implementation of new technology. I love it. Mai has a great personality, and a quirky sense of humour.

Around the world others are implementing their own chatbots to handle administrative enquiries for students in much the same way as Mai does.

At Georgia Tech –  an Artificial Intelligence Course Created an AI Teaching Assistant.Many students did not even realise that ‘Jill’ was not human.

But Machine Learning can do more than learning to answer questions.

The University of Michigan used Machine Learning to Improve student writing.A team of educators developed a writing-to-learn tool called M-Write, which uses automated text analysis to identify the strengths of a writing submission.

What other ways could Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence be leveraged in Higher Ed?

Assessment Marking? Curriculum Creation? Learning Anaytics? Tutoring? Research?

Technology can be a double edged sword. Some things that were meant to make life easier and free up time to do ‘more’ have not always worked out that way.

Email was meant to be a great time saver. But we are now spending all that extra time responding to more email. Thanks Obama.

And there is also a fear that all these AI, robots, and automation, could lead to job losses.

But there is a point- somewhere between having to work harder than before to maintain the AI that was meant to make our lives easier and everyone everywhere being out of a job because an AI is now doing it.

That is where I hope we will find what we are looking for. Better education for our students, and more time to remember we are human.

Posted by Nathan Sollars

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