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25 Jun 2024

My brother, Professor Jason Arday, and the AI generation

Bett in partnership with Joe Arday.
My brother, Professor Jason Arday, and the AI generation
Joe Arday, educator and brother of Bett 2024 keynote speaker Jason Arday, reflects on his brother's speech and how AI In education needs to be more diverse.

On 24th January 2024, I attended Bett to see the latest developments within EdTech. However, this year's Bett was also a family affair when I heard that my brother was delivering a keynote speech. To say I was excited was an understatement as my brother has come a long way from his humble beginnings. Professor Jason Arday was about to enter my world of computer science education and I was excited about what he had to say.

I have been attending Bett since 2016 where I first took a group of students to experience all things “esports”, checking out any useful EdTech and catching up with friends, colleagues and mentors who have supported me over the years. I am extremely excited about how AI will benefit the next generation including my children. As an educator, I have developed a big interest in how AI will help the education system. I am even considering further study (e.g. a master’s in artificial intelligence) to upskill myself in AI to support the next generation via a university role in the future. For me, AI has been around for about 10 years since the first-generation Amazon Alexa devices came out, and smartphone devices such as the iPhone.

Jason’s speech was extremely powerful in addressing how AI can be a force for good. However, he also clearly mentioned the lack of diverse talent within AI especially women, those from diverse and neurodiverse backgrounds. Jason also mentioned how AI would have benefited him, if this technology was around during his days as a young person at school. Jason’s speech inspired me to look at my own career and the responsibilities, I have as a computer science educator to encourage more young people from diverse backgrounds to consider pursuing a career in tech, especially within the AI field. For example, I have recently become a mentor to encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue a career in tech. I am also standing for a council position and advisory board role within the British Computing Society to ensure that the gap between education and technology is closed, so young people from all walks of life will be encouraged to pursue a career in tech. Even now, these groups are not equally represented in today’s tech industry.

In my opinion, there is still major work by institutions and organisations still needed to address the lack of diversity, especially within EdTech. Like my brother, I am an advocate for diversity with education and technology. To inspire the next generation of young women, and young people from diverse and neurodiverse backgrounds, everyone needs to pull together at all levels to encourage the next generation to pursue careers in both education (e.g. becoming an academic in higher education) and technology (e.g. careers in AI should be for all walks of life and not the select few). I have often shared the following phrase during my career with organisations that I have worked for, which I refer to as “the mirror image” and it goes something like this…….

“To inspire the next generation – it is so important that those in positions of responsibility must reflect the young people they hope to inspire via all forms diversity and neurodiversity”.


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