AI Conference Makes Headlines | Epsom College
  • News

AI Conference Makes Headlines

On 18 May, Epsom College hosted a landmark conference on AI in education and announced the launch of a cross-sector body to help schools "maximise the vast benefits of AI across education, while minimising the very real and present dangers"

Some of this country’s leading thinkers and pioneers in the world of AI lifted the lid on how artificial intelligence will transform teaching, improve learning, and alter education over the next 5-10 years. 

In his keynote speech, Sir Anthony Seldon highlighted the associated risks and rewards that AI would bring to the sector, and called into doubt the government’s capacity to regulate and advise on a technology that is experiencing such profound and rapid change.

Resultingly, he called on delegates – attending in person and watching remotely – to sign a letter to The Times supporting the launch of a cross-sector body of leaders from within education to help schools, and educationalists, navigate their way through AI. 

Over 100 delegates gave their support to the letter, with lead signatories hailing from state, independent and grammar schools as well as the ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders). 

The story was front-page news in The Times, Financial Times, The Guardian, Independent and a lead item on both the BBC and Sky News – clearly highlighting the urgency and need for action.

Sir Anthony said: “People are startled rabbits in the headlights. Every week things are changing… There’s deep concern that the technology will be used for [children’s] learning, their stimulation, their care. The grounding of mental health is in relationships and human contact.

“At best, technology will speed up heavy lifting and learning and free up teaching time so there can be more interpersonal contact such as debates, lectures, group problem-solving activities, arts and drama.”

He added: “I’m worried young people are losing touch with reality, spending so much time interacting with augmented reality and virtual reality. As learning becomes more technological, their grasp of what is real and what is normal, what is true and untrue, will be progressively eroded.”

This theme was returned to time and again throughout the conference, with keynote speakers highlighting the many advantages of AI, but also calling on delegates to guard against its many inherent dangers, not least regarding the mental health of young people.

Watch Again


Due to copyright restrictions, a small part of Dan Fitzpatrick’s talk has been edited,
and we are unable to broadcast Priya Lakhani’s talk. Apologies for any inconvenience.