Let’s start big. This week, more than 350 top artificial intelligence (AI) executives, researchers and engineers signed a statement about runaway AI, warning that: “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

Learn more about that here, including why the experts believe, or say they believe, that there are ways to keep this from happening.

RELATED: Could Controversial ChatGPT Tool Help Those With Disabilities?

But there’s other news, too, because AI — that is, “machine intelligence,” which is what happens when machines are fed information by humans (for now, at least!) to perform tasks that once required humans — is ubiquitous and its uses are growing.

Pondering AI’s Future in the Disability Community

For Some Autistic People, ChatGPT Is a Lifeline This recent article from Wired.com looks at how some autistic people are using ChatGPT as a part of their daily routine, whether it’s to “chat about their interests when other people grow bored, or to work up social scripts to help them navigate conflict.”

It also warns that it doesn’t work for everyone (the story of course only spoke with a handful of autistic people), and that there’s the potential for biased info, fabricated answers, privacy concerns and more.

How ChatGPT Could Help or Hurt Students With Disabilities The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at whether A.I. might be a useful tool for students with a range of disabilities. These students, it writes, “have long faced challenges in the classroom, starting with the difficulty of securing accommodations that can help them learn better, such as receiving note-taking assistance or extra time to take tests, or being allowed to type instead of writing by hand.” The article takes a look at some of the alleged pros and cons.

The U.S. Department of Education Mulls AI

In May, the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Educational Technology published Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning: Insights and Recommendations, a guide that considers how AI might be used as an educational tool.* It asks questions it hopes one day to answer, such as:

  • Whether AI will enable improved support for learners with disabilities and English language learners;
  • can it help schools achieve educational priorities in better ways, at scale, and with lower costs;
  • what are the “system-level risks” such as students being subjected to greater surveillance;
  • whether AI technologies may increase or undermine equity for students;
  • and can it be adapted to help learners with special needs.

*I first learned about the guide on Exceptionalchildren.org.

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