2023-2024 Parent Up Speaker Series Concludes With a Closer Look at Artificial Intelligence With Dr. John Spencer

The PTF Parent Up Speaker Series concluded with a deeper look at artificial intelligence and its role in school and society.
The 2023-2024 PTF Parent Up Speaker Series concluded last week with a deeper look at artificial intelligence and its role in school and society with Dr. John Spencer.
Dr. Spencer is an entrepreneur, former middle school teacher, current college professor and author of The AI Roadmap: Human Learning in the Age of Smart Machines. In an insightful and entertaining presentation to the parent community, he offered a glimpse into what a future with widespread adoption of artificial intelligence might look like—and what kind of impact it will have on our children.
As with many technologies, that are potential benefits and pitfalls to an AI-immersed future. Dr. Spencer said that AI has the capacity, already, to vastly increase efficiency in many of our daily tasks. “Technology has always saved us time and money, and AI is no different,” Dr. Spencer said.
Outsourcing some of our tasks to artificial intelligence could lead to what Dr. Spencer calls “cognitive atrophy.” In defining this phenomenon, he cited our current generation’s reliance on smartphone mapping apps and how it has made us less capable of navigating cities without them.
AI has the potential to have a similar impact on daily life. While AI has enormous potential to help students understand and learn more efficiently, Dr. Spencer said “we have to make sure we do not accept AI’s answers uncritically” as the tools are not perfect and are not substitutes for essential human skills like creativity and curiosity.
Dr. Spencer also spoke with Middle School and Upper School students, speaking about the importance of human connection, ethical uses of A.I., and preserving one’s distinct voice.
Click here to view Dr. Spencer’s aritifical intelligence resources for parents and students.
The PTF Parent Up Speaker Series is a parent-education initiative by the PTF in collaboration with school leaders. The PTF would like to thank Parent Up Speaker Series Chair Rosanna Coveyou and the entire Parent Up committee for putting together another great year of speakers.
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