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The AI Future is here – are you ready?

16 Feb 2024 | Dr Charles Knight and Dr Kay Hack We are introducing a new Change Impact Programme, 'Preparing for an AI-enabled future'. This programme will support members in focusing on the challenges and opportunities offered by Generative AI to support graduate outcomes from delivery, leadership, and strategic perspectives.

The launch of Chat GPT and the emergence of other Large Language Models (LLMs) in late 2022 put higher education in a defensive position regarding questions around academic integrity. 

There is a genuine concern about how the unrestricted use of technology will impact Higher Education and the student experience while accepting that it will become ubiquitous in society.

Indeed, as educators and leaders, our responsibility extends to critically examining how AI is implemented within educational settings, ensuring that it aligns with ethical standards and promotes equity and inclusivity. This involves grappling with questions about data privacy, algorithmic bias, and the broader societal impacts of AI deployment.

Now, in 2024, the situation is shifting into more nuanced questions around the development and support of students to develop the right skills and behaviours in an AI-enabled society.

A report by PwC for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, The Potential Impact of Artificial Intelligence on UK Employment and the Demand for Skills, notes that:  

"Our base case estimate is that around 7 percent of existing UK jobs could face a high (over 70 percent) probability of automation over the next five years, rising to around 18 percent after 10 years and just under 30 percent after 20 years." 

Historically, universities are at the vanguard of adapting to societal changes and play a crucial role in this preparation. They have been instrumental in equipping students with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving business landscape. As we stand on the cusp of an AI-enabled future, the onus is on these institutions to continue evolving their curricula, pedagogical approaches, and student support to address the challenges and opportunities presented by AI. 

This, in turn, has created a gap in capability and knowledge in HEIs to make these changes at a speed that matches the increasing power and complexity of AI tools and their use in society. This requires careful consideration of what works and what changes must be made at the operational and strategic levels. 

In recognition of this need, we have introduced a new Change Impact Programme (ChIP) around "AI-Enabled Futures". This initiative is specifically designed to aid HEIs in preparing for an AI-integrated society. The ChIP aims to provide educators with a structured environment to work with peers to develop the tools, knowledge, and frameworks to navigate AI's ethical, social, and professional implications while ensuring they support students to become successful graduates. 

Therefore, critical to this project are opportunities to work with peers on developing knowledge and understanding of what works and designing and discussing action plans for change.  

 Dr Kay Hack, Advance HE Lead Consultant for Education, and Dr Charles Knight, Advance HE. Associate Director for Knowledge and Innovation  

Andy Jaffrey, Head of the Office for Digital Learning, Ulster University, who participated in our taster workshop, said

"We welcome this project focused on preparing students for an AI-enabled future. AI is a strategic issue, and we aim to provide support for academics to integrate AI into their teaching and assessment practices. It's essential to engage students in conversations about ethics and appropriateness, fostering critical thinking before experimenting with AI tools. While the model and approach were effective in a mixed group setting, they have the potential for transformation within a program team. "


Advance HE institutions can register their interest in joining Preparing for an AI-Enabled Future – Change Impact Programme here.


N.B.: Our Artificial Intelligence Symposium (27 February, Birmingham) will explore how HE assessors can validate the authenticity of students’ work and ensure parity of grading and awards; how we can use AI as a positive means of identifying plagiarism ; and how can AI can be used to support the analysis of research datasets.


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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