ADM+S Research Fellow invited to provide evidence to the Federal Parliament

19 February 2024
Governing AI, education and equity together
On Tuesday 30 January 2024, ADM+S Research Fellow Dr Jose-Miguel Bello y Villarino from the University of Sydney was invited to present evidence to Federal Parliament on the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in the Australian education system.
Dr Jose-Miguel Bello y Villarino and his team

Members of Parliament’s House Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, travelled to Sydney to meet with Jose-Miguel and colleagues who are working on an ARC Discovery project investigating the use and regulation of AI in education.

The 45-minute hearing focused on preliminary observations connected to two ongoing projects; the panel’s 2024-2026 ARC Discovery Project, ‘Artificial intelligence in educationDemocratising policy’, and a 2023-2025 James Martin Institute Policy Challenge grant, ‘Governing AI, education, and equity together.’

The common objective of both projects is to find ways of involving people directly affected by the deployment of automation in the education sector – such as teachers and students – in its governance.

“The Committee was very interested in how we can do this, and the type of governance measures we can establish now, and in the future,” said Jose-Miguel.

Jose-Miguel’s contributions highlighted his expertise around regulatory and comparative experience, which he has developed as a Research Fellow with the ADM+S Centre.

He told the Committee of the Centre’s work around AI regulation, and when asked if AI could degrade human individuality by steering ideologies in a particular way, Jose-Miguel referred to the recent ADM+S 2023 Hackathon which explored bias in large language models.

Explaining that bias is embedded in such systems, Jose-Miguel advised that the real risk of using AI platforms is not being able to evaluate the system as a user.

After the formal discussion, Jose-Miguel engaged in further conversations with Committee members about the importance of AI infrastructure for equality and access.

Jose-Miguel’s focus on AI in education governance complements the Centre’s broader engagement with the Department of Industry, Science and Resources to support the responsible development of AI governance in general.

“This meeting indicates that the apex regulator in Australia, that is Parliament, is taking the disruption created by AI in diverse sectors seriously, and are willing to invest their resources in listening to what different actors have to say about it,” he said.

“My hope is that MPs listen to us when we insist that this is quite new and a trial-and-error approach is absolutely ok.

“Learning from other jurisdiction’s strengths and errors is much better that just adopting a policy or a regulation that ticks a box and is forgotten for the next few years. I hope that they are sceptical about those who say they have the silver bullet for the governance of AI.”

On the panel, Jose-Miguel was joined by Prof. Kalervo Gulson from the Education Futures Studio at the University of Sydney, Dr. Teresa Swist from Western Sydney University, and A/Prof. Simon Knight from the Centre for Research on Education in a Digital Society, University of Technology Sydney.

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