The need for psychological interventions in AI algorithms for education

A fine balance should be struck AI's benefits and ethical challenges

AI has already been facilitating the continuous academic development of students by providing personalized learning pathways and recommendations | Reuters AI has already been facilitating the continuous academic development of students by providing personalized learning pathways and recommendations | Reuters

AI: A Pandora's Box or a Utopian Dream? This burning question echoes through the corridors of global discourse, captivating minds far and wide. Controversy swirls around the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education, with passionate arguments on both sides of the divide. As the technological landscape rapidly evolves, it becomes increasingly evident that AI holds immense potential to revolutionize pedagogy, enrich learning experiences, foster skill acquisition, and reshape career paths. In the realm of education, traditional practices teeter on the precipice of transformation, as AI promises to redefine learning environments and optimize vocational journeys. Yet, amidst the excitement, apprehensions arise. Could AI serve knowledge on a silver platter, thereby stifling creativity and breeding complacency among students?

Sanjeev P. Sahni, the visionary Founder & Principal Director of Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences (JIBS), echoes this concern. He advocates for a harmonious alignment between AI tools and human needs, values, and well-being. To achieve this delicate balance, he emphasizes the indispensable role of psychology and its allied fields in shaping every aspect of AI design, development, and deployment.

"It is very crucial that psychological research should inform the design of Al systems with a focus on human factors, user experience, and usability,” he says. “By understanding human cognition, perception, and behaviour, Al can be designed to align with users' mental models, preferences, and needs. Human-centred design principles can ensure that Al systems are intuitive, easy to use, and effectively support users' goals besides being devoid of various human/operator-induced biases. Psychological theories and experiments can also help in making strategies to build trust, manage user expectations and address concerns related to Al's role in decision-making.”

AI has already been facilitating the continuous academic development of students by providing personalized learning pathways and recommendations. Algorithms possess the ability to not only provide but also refine students' career goals based on their skill set and learning preferences. In recent years, intelligent tutoring systems have harnessed the power of AI algorithms to personalize instruction, adapting the pace and content to meet the unique needs of individual learners. By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI can identify knowledge gaps, provide real-time feedback, and offer tailored recommendations, ultimately enhancing comprehension and retention.

However, it is through the utilization of natural language processing and machine learning techniques that these systems identify relevant qualifications, experiences, and keywords. Experts emphasize the significant role psychology plays in supplying machines with the precise data they require.

Need for psychological interventions

AI algorithms undergo training using extensive datasets, which predominantly consist of human-generated information. However, a critical concern arises as these training data hold the power to shape the biases exhibited by the algorithms. Furthermore, challenges emerge regarding the absence of empathy and potential factual inaccuracies when interpreting complex human emotions. In light of these issues, experts emphasize the indispensable role of psychology in identifying and addressing biases, ethical dilemmas, and unforeseen repercussions associated with AI algorithms. Psychological research becomes the key instrument in ensuring that AI frameworks remain aligned with human values, rights, and privacy. Particularly in the realm of education, it becomes paramount to eliminate harmful biases from algorithms. For AI interventions in education to exhibit minimal bias, psychology must guide the interface and interaction between humans and AI systems. Harnessing the potential of psychological tools to provide more sensitized data is the pathway towards imbuing AI tools with a sense of impartiality.

What lies ahead?

The future holds immense potential for AI to revolutionize education, particularly in the realm of social and emotional learning. By analyzing non-verbal cues, facial expressions, and sentiment analysis, AI is poised to contribute to the development of students' empathy, self-awareness, and emotional regulation skills. Notably, experts such as Sahni emphasize the significance of cognitive psychology research in guiding the design of AI-powered tools that provide feedback interventions tailored to nurturing these crucial attributes.

Concerns also arise regarding the impact of AI on careers and career choices for individuals of all ages. However, Padmanabha Ramanujam, a distinguished professor and dean at O.P. Jindal Global University, assures that AI is not replacing human beings, but it is rather communicating to human beings what you need to upskill. The key lies in heeding this communication and preparing ourselves for the future.

AI is a catalyst in democratizing education, eliminating barriers for learners with disabilities. Through AI-powered speech recognition, text-to-speech, and translation tools, inclusivity in education is enhanced, offering greater opportunities to marginalized communities, particularly in the global south.

Nevertheless, experts caution that striking a balance between the benefits of AI and the ethical challenges it presents is of utmost importance. This equilibrium is crucial to foster an inclusive and equitable educational and professional landscape.