Artificial Intelligence’s ability to personalize learning experiences, adapt to different learning styles, and provide round the clock assistance to both teachers and students are highlighted. AI’s data analysis capabilities can help policymakers make informed decisions, while AI-powered translation tools can break down language barriers and address gender disparities in education.
However, the need for caution is also emphasized, with privacy concerns, biases in AI algorithms, the risk of eroding creativity and overreliance on AI, and the digital divide in Balochistan being cited as potential drawbacks. The future of AI in Balochistan holds much promise, with recommendations including improving local infrastructure, promoting online education, fostering public-private partnerships, and implementing regulations to ensure unbiased and effective use of AI.
Today’s digital age is marked with meteoric rise in technological advancements and innovations aimed at improving the quality of people’s lives and facilitating the growth of society all together in almost every field, be it medical, energy, trade, or education. One such recent innovation is that of artificial intelligence (AI for short). Artificial intelligence refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, particularly computer systems. The AI attempts to achieve such simulation by observing and learning human behavior through interactions and mimicking real intelligence exhibited in these interactions. The AI involves the development of various algorithms and software that enable the computer systems to perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence (such as learning from experience, reasoning, problem solving, understanding natural language, and recognizing patterns).
The Artificial intelligence finds its way as an accessory in various fields today as majority of the interconnected world tests and experiences the abilities and effects of artificial intelligence. However while AI may have become a normal trend in most of the ‘developed’ world, it is still being explored in various parts of the world, such as in a particular rural part of the world known as Balochistan.
Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan, known for its rugged terrain and vast distances; it is no exception to the trend of AI. Balochistan faces significant educational challenges, including a shortage of qualified teachers, limited access to quality educational resources, a large population of out-of-school children, limited access to quality education in remote areas, and low literacy rates. With these educational challenges and its diverse population, Balochistan could turn to artificial intelligence to revolutionize its education system as Artificial intelligence has emerged as a powerful tool that can potentially address these challenges and resolve the various plights facing the educational system.
The use of Artificial intelligence can have profound impacts on the educational sectors within Balochistan. One of the most beneficial impacts is the personalized learning experience provided by the AI. Artificial systems can analyze and learn the unique learning styles of different students by monitoring their performance, and can then tailor lessons to meet the unique needs of each individual student. This can be particularly beneficial for Balochistan due to its diversity, where students come from various backgrounds and have different learning paces.
Another positive impact is that artificial intelligence can serve as an “assistant” for teachers and students alike, being available around the clock, providing assistance in preparing lectures, notes, assignments, presentations, and much more. It provides the user with ample advice and recommendations, relevant data and information regarding the lecture topics, answer any questions the users might have regarding the topic, and explain the relevant topics to them in detail through methods best suited to the users. Chabot’s and virtual assistants are designed with the ability answer the specific questions students might have, allowing teachers to focus on more complex aspects of instruction. AI can also help in grading assignments and providing real-time feedback to the students, enabling educators to track their progress more effectively.
The AI systems can also analyze vast amounts of educational data to identify trends and patterns. This data-driven approach can help education policymakers make informed decision about resource allocation, curriculum development, and teacher training.
Furthermore, Balochistan is home to multiple languages and dialects due to its diverse culture. AI-powered translation tools can help break down these language barriers, making education more accessible to students who may not speak the primary language of the country or educational institution (such as English). AI can also overcome the gender disparities in education that exist in Balochistan, with girls often having less access to education than boys. AI can help address this issue by providing flexible and remote learning options, making it easier for girls to make education while respecting cultural norms.
Although artificial intelligence has many beneficial impacts on the educational sector of Balochistan, caution should still be advised when approaching artificial intelligence, because is akin to a double sided coin, as it has many pitfalls to counter its conveniences.
One of the most prominent of such pitfalls is the threat to privacy. Artificial intelligence systems would be used for collecting and analyzing student data, as well as data regarding the entire institution using the system, but in doing so it would raise concerns about the privacy and security of the gathered data, generating fears of the data falling into the wrong hands as unauthorized access to this data can have severe consequences.
Another downside is that artificial intelligence is often biased and downright inaccurate. AI algorithms often inherit biases from the data they are trained on, potentially perpetuating inequalities and stereotypes in education, as can be seen in the earlier (and even present) models of the famous Chat GPT. This bias may be to conform to a particular political ideology or beliefs, or may be enforced by the governments controlling the AI systems either directly or indirectly to more easily spread their desired propaganda.
Artificial intelligence can also erode the uniqueness and individuality of its users. Teachers and students using AI systems to help them generate notes for studies or lectures will often start relying too heavily on the AI systems and as a result, they will lose their educational skills and abilities that they had previously developed and furnished, stop conducting their own research and reviewing literature, losing their creativity, critical thinking, and mental autonomy. This overreliance can create excessive dependence on artificial intelligence, and can also lead to a lack of human interaction in education, potentially affecting social and emotional development in students. This can also raise the fears among educators of being replaced by the AI.
Another major issue, in particular for Balochistan, is accessibility. The digital divide present within Balochistan makes it difficult to make AI systems accessible and available throughout the province. Many areas of Balochistan are underdeveloped and rural, lacking significant infrastructure and facilities. Having access to internet is usually the last thing, with minimum importance, for people living in these areas. This creates a massive digital divide within Balochistan between those who can benefit from artificial intelligence and those who cannot.
The eventual integration of artificial intelligence into Balochistan’s education system is still in its early stages, but it holds immense promises for the future. The government, in collaboration with educational institutions, can make policies and take actions that can further ease and smoothen the integration of the AI. Although the government has offered support for the integration of AI in Balochistan, there are still various methods through which this integration can be sped up.
One of the ways through which it can be sped up is by improving and developing the local infrastructure so that rural areas of Balochistan can also get easy access this technology. This will help alleviate the digital divide that has grown roots in various sectors of Balochistan.
Online education should also be more openly promoted and facilitated. With the growth of internet access and mobile technology in the region, online education is likely to become more widespread, reaching even the most remote areas.
The government should collaborate with educational institutions in a “Public-Private Partnership” to better improve coordination and efficiency, and make more effective decisions with increased participation between educators and policymakers.
The government should also impose strict regulations and maintain a check and balance on the AI systems to ensure education free of all bias, and launch training and awareness campaigns to make the educators and other users aware of all the potential adverse effects of AI (such as erosion of mental skills and abilities).
Overall, the artificial intelligence can be a game changer for the education system within Balochistan, providing ample benefits and advantages for students and educators alike. However, the benefits of AI may blind its users to its potential defects. The educators and the government should cooperate together and work towards a successful implementation and accessibility of AI systems within the education sector of Balochistan with significant caution and training, equipping the users with the ability to counter any drawbacks the AI may pose.
About the authors:
- Mir Hassan, Lecturer, Department of Public Administration, FMS, BUITEMS
- Malik Kumail, Alumni, Department of Public Administration, FMS, BUITEMS