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Highlights from HighEdWeb 2023: A Glimpse into AI’s Impact on Higher Education

I recently had the privilege of attending the HighEdWeb Conference in Buffalo, New York. This conference was not only my introduction to Buffalo’s chilly winds and sideways rain, but also a prime opportunity to nerd out on one of my favorite topics—the intersection of AI, strategic marketing, and higher education. As we gear up for the upcoming HigherEdMarketer virtual AI Summit on 10.24, this article serves to provide a summarizing glimpse into several of the exciting discussions and insights I encountered.

The Evolving Landscape of AI: The pace at which the AI landscape is evolving is nothing short of astounding. Our collective journey into the world of AI’s practical applications is marked by rapid adaptation and exploration. Given the newness of AI’s potential, much of the conversation at the conference was introductory and exploratory, highlighting that we are still in the nascent stage of our collective learning process.

Even in the past month recent developments in AI, such as ChatGPT’s new version enabling voice prompts and image uploads, have further expanded its capabilities. Enterprise-level subscriptions now offer advanced features, including higher-speed performance, no usage caps, extended context windows, advanced data analysis, API credits, and a dedicated admin console.

High Awareness. Low Adoption: A standout presentation by Daniella Nordin and Mallory Willsea from Element451 shed light on the integration of AI into recruitment strategies. Their session emphasized a critical point—the awareness of AI is high, but its adoption remains relatively low. According to Pew’s recent study, a majority of Americans have heard of ChatGPT, yet only a small percentage have used it personally or professionally. This observation aligns with research by marketing experts like Professor Gil Appel at The George Washington University.*

The Need for Shared Governance: Another compelling session hosted by Yes& emphasized the importance of establishing a code of ethics for institutions and professionals working with AI. Anthony Robinson, an excellent presenter, highlighted several key principles for ethical AI use that are difficult to argue with, including:

  • Engaging your respective professional communities in a shared dialog around the good, bad, and potentially ugly.
  • Augmenting human creativity rather than replacing it.
  • Not relying solely on AI output but treating it as a source that requires human validation and verification.
  • Not uploading proprietary information without consent.

It’s essential to understand that AI is not just another product, tool, or fad; it represents a paradigm shift in our standard operating procedures. As AI continues to advance, it will reshape industries and redefine how we work, learn, travel, access healthcare, and communicate. Bill Gates aptly states, “The development of AI is as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the Internet, and the mobile phone. It will change the way people work, learn, travel, get health care, and communicate with each other. Entire industries will reorient around it. Businesses will distinguish themselves by how well they use it.”

As we reflect on the valuable discussions and insights shared at HighEdWeb 2023, I invite you to join me and a distinguished group of panelists at the HigherEdMarketer virtual AI Summit on 10.24. This is your opportunity to better understand the world of AI in higher education and gain valuable insights to stay ahead in this transformative era. Register now to secure your spot and be part of this important event. Together, let’s continue to learn from each other and be inspired by the possibilities that AI presents to each of us.

NOTE: This feature image was generated on my very first try using a new free AI tool (Imagine AI Art Generator) using the following keywords: Buffalo NY, Higher Education, AI.


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