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“Hello, World”: Artificial Intelligence Meets Privacy

Topics:   Privacy Program
Jill Bronfman | August 7, 2019

The Common Sense privacy team received an invitation from Dr. Tom Mitchell, interim dean of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science; the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee; and Squirrel AI Learning to submit an abstract to the third Artificial Intelligence + Adaptive Education (AIAED) conference in Beijing in May 2019. We submitted an abstract on artificial intelligence and educational technology and were accepted to speak at the conference.

Our presentation, "AI in EdTech: Frontiers in Student Data Use," noted that use of personal information and de-identified data from children or students could be used for nearly unlimited artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) purposes. Moreover, AI and ML are currently present and proliferating in the edtech industry. As a result, we have become concerned that unanticipated uses of personal information from children or students will occur if additional protections are not put in place regarding the recombination, sharing, and third-party transfer of data. As always, we strive to make the privacy practices of popular edtech products more transparent for parents and educators, and to that end we've begun research using the Common Sense Privacy Program's Policy Annotator tool to pull out the "use" data from our set of more than 150 questions to look specifically at the potential for edtech AI analytics.

The conference [] kicked off in Mandarin and English, with what seemed like most of the 5,000 participants in just one large hotel conference room. Screens allowed attendees in the back to see the speakers on the main stage. We received conference programs in both languages, although most of the speakers presented in English.

Fortunately, I was able to give my presentation in a regular-sized conference room, which allowed both the moderator and several attendees to ask questions. The conference also included some wonderful opportunities to network with researchers and company representatives engaged in AI and ML ventures. In a useful segue, I met not one but two connections to my next venture, London EdTech Week.