Corporate Conversations: Google on AI as the Biggest Challenge and Opportunity

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Chris Daugherty, Education Strategy Lead for Google Cloud, shares his thoughts on the positive and negative concerns around artificial intelligence.

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Chris Daugherty
Education Strategy Lead
Google Cloud

I think it's the biggest challenge, it's the biggest opportunity, and the biggest concern all wrapped into one. That's AI, AI and education. I know Educause has done some really interesting surveys over the last couple of years. The one I saw the furthest back was 2021, most recent I saw was March of this year. And the view of what AI is gonna do or could do inside of education, higher education, has changed tremendously. Generative AI on top of AI is really where I think the acceleration started for the potential of how it can affect staff, faculty, students, alumni, you name it, when it comes to interacting with the university. The challenging part comes with understanding what to do and how to do it, and ensuring that intellectual property of individual faculty members, the college itself, the university itself, the department, the people, the students is all managed and effectively. I think that's where the challenging part comes into, where does AI play a role? Where should it play a role? How can it play a role? And from there, I think it's also the biggest opportunity. I think along those same surveys from Educause was how do we think it's gonna change? And the majority of people, I remember, from the one I saw said it's gonna change higher education and I think it already has. 2023 has been a really interesting year for how it's affecting AI, generative AI specifically. So I think that's really the biggest challenge, the biggest opportunity to look at the facets of a university from interest of students to the application process to once they matriculated, when they're in the classroom, when they're online, how can AI play a role in all of those interactions effectively to help more personalized learning, more personalized relationships, less burden, less drudgery, as a lot of my faculty members I work with have said, less drudgery around what I need to do every day. Let's focus on the high value tasks of staff, of faculty, and get away from that drudgery and the approach of those things there. So I think really kind of recapping, the biggest challenge is also the biggest opportunity. It's the biggest concern, which is really how to implement, effectively and safely, AI across a student's lifecycle, a faculty's lifecycle, engage with alumni in new ways, and really looking at the data underneath all of these areas and saying, "Hey, help us understand our data better so that we can make better decisions that have better relationships and outcomes for students and faculty across the board." So again, exciting time to be part of higher education moving forward. Thank you.