Artificial intelligence poses ‘real and present danger’, headteachers warn

AI is a rapidly growing area of innovation  (PA)
AI is a rapidly growing area of innovation (PA)

Artificial intelligence poses the greatest danger to education and the Government is responding too slowly to the threat, head teachers have claimed.

AI could bring the biggest benefit since the printing press but the risks are “more severe than any threat that has ever faced schools”, according to Epsom College’s principal Sir Anthony Seldon.

Leaders from the country’s top schools have formed a coalition, led by Sir Anthony, to warn of the “very real and present hazards and dangers” being presented by the technology.

To tackle this, the group has announced the launch of a new body to advise and protect schools from the risks of AI.

They wish for collaboration between schools to ensure that AI serves the best interest of the pupils and teachers rather than those of large education technology companies, the Times reported.

The head teachers of dozens of private and state schools support the initiative, including Helen Pike, the master of Magdalen College School in Oxford, and Alex Russell, the chief executive of Bourne Education Trust, which runs nearly 30 state schools.

The potential to aid cheating is a minor concern for head teachers whose fears extend to the impact on children’s mental and physical health and the future of the teaching profession.

Professor Stuart Russell, one of the “godfathers” of AI research, warned last week that ministers were not doing enough to guard against the possibility of a super intelligent machine wiping out humanity.

Rishi Sunak admitted at the G7 summit this week that “guard-rails” would have to be put around it.