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Do you agree or disagree? Join our Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts at this formal debate and explore the arguments for both cases. Our debate leaders have direct experience of working with AI or data analytics and carry responsibility for future development of AI within their organisations.

Session Feedback

Artificial intelligence is here to stay and can have great benefits for students the overwhelming majority (86.4%) of delegates agreed at the Going Global debate on whether universities should intervene in the development or use of AI irrespective of its potential for harm. This is what three delegates had to say:

Professor Liz Sheffield, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), University of Liverpool, UK

“What came through very strongly in the session was the importance of taking what humans do best and what machines do best and blending the two. 

“At Liverpool we have a 10-year strategy to 2026 to strengthen the employability of our students across the world and I come to the Going Global conference to share experiences, to find out what is working well elsewhere and seek partnerships.  I always come away with a pile of business cards that I find very helpful throughout the year.”

Professor Raymond R. Tan, Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Professor of Chemical Engineering, De La Salle University, Philippines

“I attended the session because I thought there would be more discussion about the use of AI in research, which is my particular interest.  In the Philippines we want to see more academic and industrial collaboration in research and development but the model is very much based on Silicon Valley. 

“I’m here to find out if there are other models, if other countries have found different solutions. We want companies to come to our universities rather than seek the technology elsewhere.”

Jennifer Bruce, Business Unit Director, Study Portals, Netherlands

“One of the key take-aways from the session for me is the question of how AI is going to impact on students and their employability. There was a lot of talk about AI helping students and making their lives easier but they have to be able to think for themselves and be independent, not reliant on machines.  

“This is my sixth Going Global conference.  For me it is a chance to network with peers I don’t normally see and have face-to-face, more insightful discussions and share ideas in a friendly, informal setting.”

Session Synopsis

There is concern in the general public that AI analytics and AI based decision making contains bias and perhaps untruth - Is social media so penetrative and unchecked that positive intervention is needed to protect truth?

Some have argued that AI needs ethical control if it is to be managed appropriately:

  • Would the teaching of ethics have any effect on the abuse of data analytics by large scale technology companies?
  • Will AI find its way into academic structures, perhaps as critical as assessment, whether we like it or not?
  • Is there any part of academic life that must be protected from data analytics and AI incursion – pastoral support, student finances, academic performance evaluation?
  • In introducing ethical or social constraints around the development of AI are nations risking stifling development in this area and allowing other countries to march ahead into a more attractive, prosperous future?

Each expert will present a perspective, including examples from their own direct experience, on the impact of AI and the benefits and disadvantages of its development and use in the immediate and near future. This includes experience of AI in assessment, pastoral care, recruitment and elsewhere. Each expert will, during the debate aim to influence the audience towards their given perspective, in favour of or against the motion.

As audience participants you will have the opportunity to hear arguments that both excite and concern. In addition to voting on the motion before and after the expert arguments have been made, there will be ample opportunity for questions of your own.


CHAIR: Natalie Smolensky, Senior Vice-President - Business Development, Learning Machine, USA

Mr Aaron Porter, Director of Policy, Hotcourses, United Kingdom

Mr Andrew Proctor, Director of Digital, Staffordshire University, United Kingdom

Dr Rose Clesham, Director of Academic Standards and Measurement, Pearson, United Kingdom

Prof. Alistair Fitt Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom

Prof. Nigel Crook, Head of the Cognitive Robotics Group, Research Lead for Computer Science, Oxford Brookes University, UK