The UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the use of ICT in education is now accepting candidatures. The theme of the 2019 edition is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to innovate education, teaching and learning. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advancements in neuroscience have the potential to enhance teaching methodologies, support lifelong learning and personalize learning through various ways, as well as propel and accelerate the discovery of new delivering modes of education. Keeping in with Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, UNESCO with its partners is aiming to explore the effective and ethical use of AI applications to reduce barriers to access education and optimize learning processes with a view to improve learning outcomes. In 2019, the Prize will award AI-powered solutions as well as applications of neuroscience in AI aiming to improve learning outcomes, to empower teachers and to enhance the delivery of education services, while advocating for inclusive and equitable use of these technologies in education.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to address some of the biggest challenges in education today, innovate teaching and learning practices, and ultimately accelerate the progress towards SDG 4. However, these rapid technological developments inevitably bring multiple risks and challenges, which have so far outpaced policy debates and regulatory frameworks. UNESCO is committed to supporting Member States to harness the potential of AI technologies for achieving the Education 2030 Agenda, while ensuring that the application of AI in educational contexts is guided by the core principles of inclusion and equity. UNESCO's mandate calls inherently for a human-centred approach to AI. It aims to shift the conversation to include AI's role in addressing current inequalities regarding access to knowledge, research and the diversity of cultural expressions and to ensure AI does not widen the technological divides within and between countries.
To help build a draft resolution on how AI can be developed and deployed, UNESCO is seeking global policymakers and AI experts. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has said that there is an urgent need for a global instrument on the ethics of AI to ensure those who it is used by and used with are treated fairly and equally. Now it has announced the launch of a global online consultation led by a group of 24 experts in AI charged with writing a first draft on a'Recommendation on the Ethics of AI' document. It's hoped that UNESCO member states would adopt its recommendations by November 2021, thereby becoming the first global normative instrument to address the developments and applications of AI. If the recommendation is adopted, these nations will be invited to submit periodic reports every four years on the measures that they have adopted.
UNESCO has published the Beijing Consensus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Education, the first ever document to offer guidance and recommendations on how best to harness AI technologies for achieving the Education 2030 Agenda. It was adopted during the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Education, held in Beijing from 16 – 18 May 2019, by over 50 government ministers, international representatives from over 105 Member States and almost 100 representatives from UN agencies, academic institutions, civil society and the private sector. The Beijing Consensus comes after the Qingdao Declaration of 2015, in which UNESCO Member States committed to efficiently harness emerging technologies for the achievement of SDG 4. Ms Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, stated that ''we need to renew this commitment as we move towards an era in which artificial intelligence – a convergence of emerging technologies – is transforming every aspect of our lives (…) we need to steer this revolution in the right direction, to improve livelihoods, to reduce inequalities and promote a fair and inclusive globalization.'' The Consensus affirms that the deployment of AI technologies in education should be purposed to enhance human capacities and to protect human rights for effective human-machine collaboration in life, learning and work, and for sustainable development. The Consensus states that the systematic integration of AI in education has the potential to address some of the biggest challenges in education today, innovate teaching and learning practices, and ultimately accelerate the progress towards SDG 4. In summary, the Beijing Consensus recommends governments and other stakeholders in UNESCO's Member States to: The Consensus also details its ambitions for UNESCO to act as a support system for the capacity building of education policy-makers to implement the recommended measures, and to act as a convener for financing, partnership and international cooperation together with other international organizations and partners active in the field of AI in education.
Nikki Haley, the exiting U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, issued a harsh assessment of UNESCO on Tuesday, one day after the United States and Israel officially quit the U.N. agency, alleging an anti-Israel bias. "UNESCO is among the most corrupt and politically biased UN agencies," Haley wrote in a Twitter message. "Today the U.S. withdrawal from this cesspool became official. The Trump administration filed its notice to withdraw in October 2017 from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed suit. Paris-based UNESCO, which supports various educational and cultural projects around the world, has been denounced by critics for criticizing Israel's occupation of east Jerusalem, naming ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites and granting full membership to Palestine in 2011. Israeli U.N. envoy Danny Danon said Tuesday that his country "will not be a member of an organization whose goal is to deliberately act against us, and that has become a tool manipulated by Israel's enemies.