EU Law on AI provides window into our future

The world’s first comprehensive AI law, agreed after almost six months of negotiation by the European Union this week, provides a valuable insight into what the Australian digital landscape could soon look like.

The EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act seeks to regulate Big AI, establish a risk framework for when and how AI is used and prohibit the use of AI in sensitive areas, in changes which have significant implications for Australian universities.

With TEQSA requiring universities to establish their own strategies to protect against cheating and other misuses of AI by June 2024, the EU law will undoubtedly help shape local regulation, Higher Education AI expert Dr Nici Sweaney says.

“These regulations have implications for educators and HE leaders globally. If Australia follows the EU regulations, we could see a future where educational AI tools are subject to rigorous controls,” Dr Sweaney said.

“There is particular interest around the EU’s stance on sensitive AI systems, which could lead to restrictions and prohibitions on the AI tools used for assessments and monitoring.

“With more than 10,000 AI tools now available, and more coming on stream most days, institutions will have to quickly formulate policies in relation to the tools they allow, which comply with their ethical and privacy requirements, and those that are unacceptable.

“Monitoring new AI apps and updating policies and practices as AI technology evolves is going to be a significant new area of work for university staff.

“The sooner we accept that AI is here to stay and revise learning and assessment policies so that they leverage AI, rather than try to keep it under control, the faster we can move to better student experiences and outcomes.

“The EU Act simply highlights the importance of moving quickly to understand and respond to the opportunities that AI presents.”

“It’s important that HE approach to AI is agnostic, allows flexibility and adaptability, and foster a culture where people are empowered to innovate and create.

“For the institutions that effectively embrace AI, the next couple of years have the potential to be pretty fantastic. In contrast, institutions that instead focus on policing it are going to be rapidly overwhelmed as widespread student use and urgent requirements to implement ever-evolving assessment security standards take their toll.”

Dr Nici Sweaney’s Clever Classroom and Tim Winkler’s Twig Marketing have partnered to offer Strategic AI solutions for the HE sector.



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