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An HE leadership perspective on GenAI opportunities

In this video, Professor Shitij Kapur, King’s President & Principal, discusses his perspective on the use of generative AI in higher education.

In the previous step, you heard some student perspectives on the advantages and limitations of using generative AI tools in their learning. In this step, to complete this activity, you hear from a higher education sector leader about his perspective on generative AI.

In the video, Professor Shitij Kapur, Principal and President of King’s College London, acknowledges that we are at a threshold: AI is not just on our doorstep but ‘living’ in our homes. In so many ways, many of us engage with it every day, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.

Below, Dr Martin Compton reflects on the themes that Professor Kapur highlights.

The risk of increasing inequity

Firstly, Professor Kapur cautions that some technologies of the past have minimised our humanity and increased inequity. Can you think of examples of this?

My thoughts immediately spring to weaponry, but what about machines that enabled industrialisation? And I am sure there are many examples where a technological innovation has both its supporters and detractors: nothing is clear cut and likely to create consensus.

As we engage with AI, we must be mindful of its ethical implications and be alert to other impacts and costs. Whilst resisting the tide may be ultimately fruitless, we can inform the narratives and processes to help shape collective responses and drive fairer and more equitable outcomes.

Curiosity and humility

Secondly, he advises curiosity and humility. Absolutely!

This technology raises profound questions about intelligence and what it means to be human. We must approach it as lifelong learners, ever open to evolving our understandings. I hope that curiosity is part of what brought you here.

The philosophical questions are those that I consistently return to, and I find that they help me understand my own complex thoughts – sometimes contradictory – about the likely implications.

As my colleague, Dr Caitlin Bentley, said earlier in this course, there are necessarily many layers to how we conceptualise, analyse and understand AI.

Let’s be ambitious!

Finally, Professor Kapur advocates ambition: utilising AI to make education more accessible and prepare students for a changing world. I wholeheartedly agree.

As another colleague, Amy Aisha Brown, will show in the next activity, there are so many emerging and creative ways these technologies can support everyone at an individual level, and these benefits need to be harnessed, scaled and supported. We are better equipped to achieve this when we have the ambition to engage and learn.

By engaging with AI with eyes wide open, neither banning it nor blindly celebrating it, we can realise potentials while mitigating risks. With leaders in the sector championing this approach, that outcome is much more likely.

When you have completed this step, you will have heard the perspective of a leader in the higher education sector regarding generative AI.

You will also have completed this activity, in which you explored the capabilities and limitations of current generative AI tools in an educational context. You also learned about some ways that students are already using these tools.

Now that you have completed this activity, don’t forget to add some notes to your reflective log, which you can download from Step 1.1.

In the next activity, you will examine some ethical and sustainability considerations, including practical implications for inclusivity.

Additional resources

If you would like to explore this topic further, here are some additional resources.

Russell Group principles on the use of generative AI tools in education

Join the conversation

How important a role do you think educational leaders will play in the ways in which AI is adopted (or otherwise) in our institutions?

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Generative AI in Higher Education

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