As AI approaches, Santa Fe schools look to the ‘human side’

As school districts start to automate processes using artificial intelligence, the chief information officer for Santa Fe Public Schools says technology leaders need to be cautious.

“As we look at maybe having machines make decisions about what we’re doing, where’s the human side of that?” Tom Ryan says in a video interview.

Ryan says district leaders need to think about the effects that AI and other automation technologies might have on the workforce, as well as on the students who are using them. If introducing AI could cause people to lose their jobs, he says, that’s something that should be considered.

“Just because we can doesn’t mean we should,” Ryan says. “How do we, as digital citizens in a digital community, look at the impact of the technologies?”

With those considerations in mind, Ryan says districts need to think about the use-cases first, and the products second.

“We need to be making good decisions, not just making decisions because it’ll make somebody money,” Ryan says.

As educators teach their students digital citizenship skills, that same careful approach will be key, he says.

“Digital citizenship is a huge component, and when you look at people talking about artificial intelligence, that’s what they’re going to focus on,” Ryan says. “What’s the human equation when we look at taking these technologies to the next level?”

Ryan on his top priorities:

Ryan on cybersecurity and data privacy:

Ryan looking ahead:

This video was filmed at the Consortium for School Networking’s annual conference in Portland, Oregon, on April 1, 2019.