Inputs from the audience
The reason I wanted to write this blog was mainly because the amazing inputs we received from the audience.
After the presentation, the room was divided in 3-4 breakout groups to discuss three main questions: 1) what you would like to see AI in the future, 2) what you think about AI for young, and 3) what changes are needed.
I gathered the different reports from different breakout groups into the following three key points.
Demand changes to the current approach of educating AI at school
The talk was well-attended by many young people from local schools as well as afar. It has been amazing to hear immediately after the presentation how much these young people demand for more discussions at their schools about AI-related practices and impact, which are quite limited at the moment. Although our existing research has always indicated this importance of filling in the gap of children’s digital literacy, which is a crucial factor to affect how much children can make sense of datafication practices around them, or empower them with designs that we are creating for them. It was most rewarding to hear from an entirely different group of young people who immediately recognised this need and shared this urgency with all other children and young people we have engaged with.
Demand for more public engagements to demystifying AI
A lot of the adult audiences in the room expressed their surprise of how little public engagement there has been related to AI, apart from media articles. They found today’s direct engagement provided them with much more coherent knowledge and understanding that are missing in media articles, which have provided fewer discussions about what AI actually is and how it relates to them personally. This must have been an amazing message for my colleagues who are running this wonderful event and secured this specific funding to support such an initiative, which I hope is a start of many more to come.
Demand more engagements and guidance from the UK government for safeguarding citizen’s rights
Finally, many groups raised the questions about what should be the answer to all the big techs who are currently taking such a dominant role in our digital life with their invasive designs and systems, what the role of UK government should play to protect citizens’ right and protect the alternatives for them. Although we recognise that the UK government is making pioneer changes to the legislation space for safeguarding, there is still a lack of a strong message, or coherent strategy, about what the government may provide as an alternative to the solutions provided by the big tech – how citizens can have access to more personalised medical care without worrying how their data may be misused, how children’s learning and development can be supported with AI-based technologies without their digital life being invasively monitored and influenced by the invisible power of personalisation.
It has been a great Saturday that I have learnt massively from the community! Thank you again for having me Upper Norwood!