SELENA NEMORIN (UCL Knowledge Lab)
Tuesday 17th September 2019
Room 3.51, Learning & Teaching Building, Clayton Campus >>> 1300 to 1400
Artificial intelligence in education (AIEd) is celebrated as a pathway to gaining deeper understandings of how learning occurs, and is increasingly becoming central to pedagogical practice and school governance. The rationale driving these initiatives is that vast amounts of data can be used to improve behaviours and academic performance through personalisation. However, when examined closely, at the core of many AI-driven educational initiatives lies a computational understanding of schooling that reduces lifeworlds to particular data logics underpinned by an instrumental rationality. This process seeks to make schooling more knowable and controllable, and is aligned with positivist thinking which displays reductionist, mechanistic, and deterministic impulses. Such a worldview collapses complex social structures and intersubjectivities to abstract data points and calculative rules. Consequently, there tends to be a failure to acknowledge that the richness of learning experience cannot be easily represented as a set of calculations.
Informed by a mixed methods approach to multi-scalar policy and document analysis, this presentation explores the social and ethical questions emerging from the introduction of AI into education, paying particular attention to recurring ideas such as marketisation, optimisation, classification, privacy, and predictive governance, including a focus on the rational instrumentality underpinning these discourses. It seeks to understand how these socio-technical systems might be implicated in a form of knowledge production which reifies particular kinds of epistemologies that, if left unexamined, may also result in forms of machinic bias against historically oppressed bodies.