• jmblanusa

Teens, Integrity & #AIEthics


Lately I've become very interested in the discussions around #AIEthics. For me that includes #VREthics, #GamingEthics, #RoboticsEthics....anything that fits in this field.


I'm interested, and have done a deep dive into these discussions because I work with adolescents and young adults who are using and (even building) technology ALL THE TIME.


Adolescence is THE time when individuals are working out their own value system, their own personal integrity. They want to be "good people" with "good character" and treat others as they want to be treated. They're looking for adults to guide and challenge them to be their best, in every way possible. They want that, and it's up to adults to provide it.


To me, it seems essential that we explicitly address the confluence of these phenomena during the high school and college years (& earlier, but I work w/ older teens & 20 year olds, so I'm specifically addressing that audience). We need to have these discussions in high school and college!


When it comes to technology, conversations shouldn't just be left to the fields of technology and computer science. Those of us in the humanities, social sciences and arts can contribute to this conversation with depth and breath.


The novels and essays we teach are often filled with moral dilemmas and ethical issues that humanity has faced through millennia. Shakespeare comes to mind. So does Confucius, or Napoleon and Ghandi and Mandela. Then of course, there's Freud and Jung, and Amelia Earhart and Catherine the Great, and right now we could look at the actions of Aung San Suu Kyi and what is happening to the #Rhuhinga, or Greta Thunberg and the discussions she's spurred on climate.


Everything I've just mentioned is filled with moral questions, dilemmas, truths, values...all of which could be analyzed, evaluated, and then transferred to discussions on #AIEthics, etc.


I've just touched the tip of the iceberg. As we know about that metaphor, there's always more floating underwater.


Students are yearning to have these stories, these masterpieces and events in history made meaningful to real life; to their lives and their current world. We need to explicitly build those bridges between the humanities and social sciences, and what is happening in the world writ large, as well as in technology right now.


Educators from all disciplines need to have these conversations. Let's make what we teach applicable. Let's help kids be the decent, kind, good people they yearn to be. Let's build the future for the "better angels of our nature."


P.S. Just last week, an 8th grader I tutor showed me what he learned from Minecraft, which led to him teaching me about #TeamTrees, and #DrBeast. He was so proud to be teaching me something, especially about something he valued. I loved it. I know he felt valued, and that his values were valued.


So I gave him an assignment; write a 1 page paper describing the YouTube show he'd like to create, that would make the world a better place. He left so excited to get started.


That's why I love to work with young people!

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