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Exploring the Salesian Approach to Artificial Intelligence - Part 1 by Luis Chacon!

Luis and Joel Chacon write the following three articles about artificial intelligence. As Salesian Family Youth Center, we aim to be, like Don Bosco, up today with technology. We want to share with you some of our findings! Jc Montenegro, Ph.D.


Don Bosco, the visionary saint renowned for his dreams and dedication to the youth, had an unyielding passion for keeping abreast of the latest technological advancements of his time. If he were among us today, it is not hard to imagine Don Bosco utilizing social media as a powerful tool to spread the Gospel, advocate for human rights, and address educational concerns. Furthermore, he would likely be researching and training his boys and educators in the responsible and beneficial use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the betterment of young lives and the salvation of souls.

Technological progress unfolds at a breathtaking pace, often surpassing the theoretical understanding of human beings and their relationships within the context of AI development.

During a convention in Washington D.C. last year, one of the central topics under discussion was the creation and adoption of electric cars. Many expressed concerns and fears about the anticipated mass layoffs and job losses, particularly in industries reliant on traditional fuel sources such as gasoline. Predictions were made regarding the impact on education, with an emphasis on favoring individuals skilled in electric engineering. Scholarships and initiatives were even launched in this direction.

However, this year's convention in Washington D.C. saw a shift in focus. Electric cars and their impact were no longer at the forefront of discussions; instead, the attention turned to a more delicate subject: Artificial Intelligence. Various hypotheses were put forward, including the potential for widespread job displacement as AI takes over human roles within companies. In the field of education, concerns were raised about the potential loss of essential skills among students due to increased reliance on AI, leading to a questioning of its use in the classroom.

Some speakers at the convention suggested that AI could potentially lead to a reduction in working hours, as it would enable faster and more efficient completion of tasks. However, the outlook for education was less optimistic, with some speakers highlighting that the education sector tends to be slower in adapting to and embracing new developments.

Recently, during a gathering at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, a representative from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) acknowledged that public education has not yet formulated a clear strategy for dealing with AI. The role of AI in the education sector remains largely unexplored and unmoderated. While some private schools have opted to ban the use of AI altogether, one cannot help but wonder how Don Bosco would approach this dilemma.

Motivated by my brother's involvement in a Post PhD program focused on Machine Learning and NASA supercomputer experimentation at the University of Texas at Dallas, I invited him to join me at a conference on Artificial Intelligence held at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. I hoped that his expertise in the field would enable us to better comprehend the terminology, definitions, and implications surrounding AI.

Given the length of this article, we have decided to publish it in parts. Each week, a new installment of this article will be shared, delving deeper into the conference proceedings and exploring the potential application of AI within the Salesian context. Stay tuned for the next part of this enlightening journey.

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