VPCC seminar promotes embracing AI, not fearing it.

Krista Krohn, facilitator and keynote speaker, led a panel.
Conversation with, from left, Edward Halper, Ian Taylor, Lisa Sirles-Law, Rev Bull and Jeff Corbett. (VPCC)
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HAMPTON — Artificial intelligence was the topic of discussion at Virginia Peninsula Community College's United for Impact series June 18, highlighting its benefits and risks.

“This is a complex issue,” Krista Krohn told more than 60 people at the Peninsula Workforce Development Center.

TIES (Teaching Institute Senior Director of Education) based in Crone, Ohio.
Excellence in STEM), was the keynote speaker and facilitator of the “AI Insights – Navigating the Future” series.

Stuart Henderson, director of the Jefferson Lab in Newport News, was the guest speaker.

Five regional leaders were part of a panel discussion at the end of the event, which included breakout sessions on AI for Educators, AI for Business, AI for the Military, and AI Ethics and Policy, according to Virginia Peninsula Community College (VPCC). .

Although many people think that AI is a recent phenomenon, it is not. The first paper on machine learning was published in 1943, and the first chatbot was created in the 1960s, Krohn noted in his presentation. The phrase was first used in 1955 at Dartmouth College.

However, with the proliferation of computers today, AI is becoming an everyday occurrence, and like all technology, the key is using it effectively while minimizing misuse, Henderson said.

According to the VPCC, this was the main topic of the panel discussion, which included Lisa Sirles-Law, science education program manager at Jefferson Lab. Ian Taylor, VPCC Head of Economics; Jeff Corbett, an entrepreneur with a background in logistics; Edward Halper, Air Combatant Command facility sustainment, renovation and modernization program manager; and Rev. Bill, director of Virginia's Office of Regulatory Management.

Surles-Law said AI features such as ChatGPT, DALL-E (Text to Image) and Sora (Text to
video) can help with mundane things, including drafting, summarizing, planning,
Scheduling and translation.

“It frees you up to be creative and do what you want to do,” Surles-Law said.

For Taylor, AI is great when it's not available, like at 2 a.m., if a student has a basic question like when the next test is or how an assignment is weighted.

Halper uses AI for data analytics and says, “It's a tool, not a crutch.” The user must still know how and why something was done.

Bell compares the current AI revolution to the industrial revolution and knowledge/technology revolutions, with many opportunities (economics) and concerns (manpower and ethics).

Bell added that guardrails are important to promote responsible/moderate growth.

“The upside goes to the downside, but you have to take care of both,” Bull said. Also, don't use AI just for the sake of using AI. “There may be some areas where it's not really useful.”

The keys are embracing uncertainty, with ethical AI principles, and consistently
learning and adapting.

VPCC said the panel emphasized three things: learn why AI makes changes or suggestions, parents need to work with AI and their children to understand the benefits and risks, and a human in the loop. should be retained and included in the final decision.

“It's still the human being that's responsible,” Taylor said.

“We stand on the brink of an extraordinary era, where artificial intelligence is poised to transform every aspect of our lives,” Crone said.

It has already changed the way we approach challenges and solve problems in almost every industry and the military.

“With this remarkable potential comes the responsibility to develop and deploy AI in an ethical, transparent and inclusive manner, ensuring that it benefits all of humanity,” Crone noted.

For more information about the VPCC, visit its webpage.

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