KNUST public debate discusses impact of AI, emerging technologies

Artificial Intelligence has permeated critical sectors of the economy. This also calls for a critical discourse on the potential bad effects of the technology.

The Responsible Artificial Intelligence Lab (RAIL-KNUST) and KNUST Engineering Education Project (KEEP) therefore partnered the KNUST Student Representative Council Debating Society to organize a public debate on the topic: “AI and emerging technologies; a blessings or a curse to higher education.”

According to the Director of Student Affairs, Prof. Wilson Agyare, the debate aims to ignite critical thinking among the university community.

“Through this public debate, we aim to create an environment where students can question assumptions, explore new perspectives and foster empathy, understanding and respect,” he said.

Scientific Director and Principal Investigator of RAIL, Prof. Jerry John Kponyo was hopeful “the public debate will trigger further discussions leading to policy decisions on how universities can position themselves to harness the positive benefits of technology while guarding against the negatives.”

The debate which took a unique form, involved speeches from debaters as well as the audience. Again, the audience had the power to politely interrupt during a submission.

The majority principal speaker, Prince Atisu elaborated the benefits of AI in enhancing education and higher education research.

The minority principal speaker, Kojo Acheampong, however, feared for the disruption in diversity and decreased engagement among faculty and peers as a result of AI. In the end, AI as a curse won the debate with 59.4 points.

The Chancellor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Prof. Melissa Nobles was impressed with arguments from both sides. He was confident of contestants’ leadership potential.

“Ghana is in good hands. I heard smart students making persuasive arguments using facts. That’s what we need, that’s what human society needs.

“I look forward to hearing more from you in the future and hopefully becoming the leaders of Ghana,” she said.

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