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Exploring the Salesian Approach to Artificial Intelligence - Part 2 by Joel Chacon Ph.D.

Innovation and Collaboration


During my stay in Los Angeles, I was invited to the Chamber of Commerce by Luis Chacon in charge of Public Relations Specialist at Salesian Family Youth Center and Coordinator of the Salesian Volunteer Program of this Province. For those that don’t know, essentially, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce (LA Chamber) provides advocacy and networking and business development opportunities for the business community in Los Angeles, therefore in the LA chamber are presented diverse kinds of topics for the business community addressed to different councils for instance, health care, innovation and technology, transportation and goods movement. In this case Artificial Intelligence (AI) was addressed. So in this article I talk about the most basic AI from an ethical perspective.

Over the last decade the constant development of technology has left a significant mark in the world. One of the most interesting intentions of computer science was to understand human intelligence, which has given rise to the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).[1]


The Essence of AI


Although AI is widely defined in literature, a quite popular definition proposed by John McCarthy[2] is “AI is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. It is related to the similar task of using computers to understand human intelligence, but AI does not have to confine itself to methods that are biologically observable”. Basically, AI can be interpreted as the science concerned to build smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence, for instance recognizing if a photo has either a cat or a dog in it.


Along this event two topics from AI were exposed, the first one “An update from the City of Los Angeles'' by Ted Ross and the second one “The State of Artificial Intelligence” by Tolian Gjika and Medhal Bankhwal, while in the former were presented the latest advancements with a Smart City perspective[3], in the latter were presented the most recent applications of AI developed in McKinsey & Company.


Balancing Automation and Human Intervention for a Thriving Future


Personally, I believe that the amount of work that can be done with AI is impressive, however there is a genuine concern with people that have never worked with fields from AI, which is AI taking control of everything diminishing the intervention of humans resulting in massive layoffs from a laboral perspective. Although there are a lot of full-time jobs (millions) that might be replaced by AI[4].


Companies still will need intervention from humans, one reason is that AI requires massive amounts of information to work optimally, however the data (like any events) is continuously evolving so as a result a lot of AI tools will require short-term and long-term adjustments.


Conclusion


In the Salesian approach to AI, we find inspiration from Don Bosco's embrace of new technologies and his focus on the moral development of students. While AI presents challenges and opportunities, we can learn from Don Bosco's example of empowering young people and ensuring fairness in the face of technological progress.


Trust becomes crucial in navigating the role of AI in education, and we must educate students to embrace honesty and integrity. Balancing the power of AI with human agency is essential, and we should equip students with critical thinking skills to evaluate AI-generated information.


Rather than banning AI from schools, we should educate students on responsible AI use. Teachers should adapt to the evolving educational landscape and explore AI's potential for enhanced learning.


[1] A Review on Artificial Intelligence in Special Education, Athanasios S. Drigas and Rodi-Eleni Ioannidou. [2] WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?, John McCarthy, 2004 https://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/whatisai.pdf [3] Information Technology Agency, Strategy Plan 2022-2023, https://ita.lacity.gov/sites/g/files/wph1626/files/2022-01/ITA%20Strategic%20Plan%20%282022-23%29.pdf [4] https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-65102150

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