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13 April 2023

Digital citizenship: How to recognize and harness the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The expansion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a source of conversation and concern across all of society but especially in the educational community.  AI is reimagining the way users look at data and how it can change everyday activities such as writing emails to creating new computer code. Alarms are being sounded from statements such as AI replacing educators to providing high tech ways for students to answer questions, this new technology has opened new discussions for its place in society.   As AI continues to evolve, it is essential to consider the ethical and practical implications of its use and how it affects everyone as digital citizens.

Digital citizenship

Digital citizenship refers to the responsible use of technology and online resources, including social media, messaging, and other digital tools. It encompasses a range of behaviors, including online safety, ethical use of technology, and responsible digital communication. Digital citizenship is crucial in a world where technology is rapidly advancing, and its use is becoming increasingly more embedded.  It provides a structure of what needs to be addressed and scaffolds a way to learn about the appropriate use of technology.

As technology becomes more sophisticated, it is crucial to consider the ethical implications of its use, particularly when it comes to data privacy, security, and equity. Users must be critical of the accuracy of information provided and not make assumptions about the validity of what is created through these platforms.  It is essential to those using these tools that they balance their rights to utilize this technology with their responsibilities of sharing where the information was created.  Everyone must be taught how to recognize and harness the potential of AI through digital citizenship topics and skills (e.g., being able to write effective prompts to gain the best responses). Those using this technology must recognize their need for responsible use and not be controlled by these tools.

Using AI safely

One of the key issues is the importance of transparency in AI decision-making. Users need to reflect on what information they are sharing and the need for the data they provide.  AI algorithms rely on capturing large amounts of data to provide responses, which can include personal information. It is crucial to ensure that individuals' data is protected and that they are aware of how their data is being used. This is part of the foundation of digital citizenship and how to be safe and effective users of these tools for the sake of all digital citizens.  This includes in sharing what data is being collected, stored, and used, and ensuring that individuals have control over their own data.

The importance of responsible use of AI technology is especially important as there is a continued expansion of its use across various platforms. AI has the potential to transform the way we work, communicate, and interact with each other. Digital citizenship is based on the use of technology for the support of society.  Users must recognize the value of genuine/authentic interaction with other individuals over a relationship with the technology.  It is essential to ensure that AI is used in a way that is consistent with the users’ values and ethical principles. This includes considering the impact that AI may have on individuals, communities, as well as society.

Embracing AI

As technology continues to advance, it is crucial to ensure that individuals are aware of their rights and responsibilities when using all technology, especially AI. This includes recognizing how AI is being used, while protecting individuals' data privacy and security, and ensuring that AI is used in a responsible and ethical manner. This is why is it crucial that students learn and understand the power of these tools with skill building through the lens of digital citizenship to prepare to live in a world using AI.  By promoting and embracing responsible use of AI technology, it is possible to harness the potential to transform our lives and to provide opportunities to everyone in this new and expanding digital society.

Hear more from Mike on on Season Two of the IMYC International Specialist Series Season