ai president

UNLV “Digital President” – Have We Considered the AI Implications?

Keith Whitfield, president of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, is available to chat with all 31,000 students at any hour of the day or night—as long as they don’t mind talking to a digital version of him. The public research university recently unveiled the digital President Whitfield , an artificial intelligence and online avatar that can answer more than 1,000 questions about hundreds of university-related topics. Whitfield and the developers at AI Media Lab, the Nevada-based company that built the AI and avatar, hope the digital president will serve as a resource for students, employees and potential applicants.

Inside Higher Ed “UNLV President Turns Himself into an AI

Here we have a digital AI version of the president of a college.

I see one major drawback to “training” AI bots of this type (and why I don't use it for AI blog writing either) – if people think someone is you — are you responsible for what is said? What if someone hacks your AI-alternate persona? What if your AI is too good and answers questions better than you do and you defer to the AI tool? (And could this prop people up who perhaps are past their cognitive ability to hold such a job?)

There are ethical issues that go with this as well. I'm just not sure we've completely thought through the use of AI -personas. I do know that there has been a conversation for some time about training AI bots to go to meetings for people and sadly if an AI-bot can effectively represent you in a meeting, I'd argue that no real creative problem solving is happening in that meeting. If a meeting is pointless and only one person is talking, it should be a video, not a meeting.

This “AI College President” will be something I discuss with my students, for sure as we discuss ethics and artificial intelligence.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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2 comments

Alan Levine March 6, 2022 - 4:51 pm

I had a chat with the AI President, it was not overly impressive nor does there seem to be any danger of this kind of bot replacing a person. He was not all that smooth as a conversationalist.

I’d guess though, if you were an UNLV student had a specific question that was in the programmed repertoire, maybe you would see it useful as opposed to waiting on hold on the phone?

But I doubt my opinion holds a hill of beans. I’d really like to hear what students think. Anyone can talk to him at https://unlv.aimedialab.com/ Cool or not, Cool Cat?

Reply
Vicki Davis March 16, 2022 - 8:23 pm

Thanks for responding, Alan. I don’t know. I just sort of pretending it is the president has many issues. what happens when the president leaves and you’ve invested all of this tech in using this person and their conversation style? Does the college retain ownership of that? I’ll need to go chat. Thanks for responding and checking it out. I hope I can see you in passing at a conference or maybe you’ll travel on the road again and come visit me at my new school!

Reply

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere