Part One


SGUK Episode 105


AI Consensus, a student movement sponsored by Minerva University, is dedicated to transforming education by empowering the ethical and responsible use of AI tools. Our mission is anchored in fostering dialogues that bring together diverse perspectives and a belief in the importance of learning.

About AI Consensus on their website:

“We are students at Minerva University, ranked the World’s Most Innovative University, who are passionate about learning and creating a more effective education system. We started this initiative in February 2023 in response to schools across the world banning the use of ChatGPT in the classroom”.

Shaping the Future of AI in the Classroom –

A student movement empowering the responsible and ethical use of AI tools.

“Every field of professional education needs to be working on new solutions, but we are stuck in a no man’s land.”

4 Pillars for AI in Education


Extract from the Medium site, populated by the AI Consensus group of students:-

We are a group of students at Minerva University who are thinking deeply about responsibly integrating AI into education. Currently, we see 4 major pillars that need to embrace within education to not only mitigate the negative consequences but also reap the benefits AI is ushering in.

1. Universities need to recognize that AI has the potential to boost productivity and learning

AI should be embraced as a tool — a technology that helps us accomplish a function

With its human-like responses and ability to receive language-based input, it’s easy to think that Large Language Models could have their own agency, but at the end of the day, AI is just another example of a tool: a technology that helps us accomplish a function.

While any tool can be used in counterproductive ways, it also has unique functions which can greatly benefit the user. For example, ‘running’ a marathon in a car probably isn’t the smartest decision… But a road trip across America by foot? Maybe I’ll stick to a car.

In the same way, AI tools have applications that they are well suited for, ways in which they can be misused, and others where they are more than useless.

In the context of education, tasks such as creating a slide deck or helping a student think through a math problem are ones where AI tools have clear and reasonable applications, accomplishing a task quicker and likely better. While other applications like submitting a ChatGPT-written essay as your own are definitely malpractice, we can not deny that Generative AI has applications within learning that can benefit all parties.

When we think of AI as a tool, it becomes clear that the key to successful use is understanding where applications are beneficial and where they might be hindering us from our goals. Being able to avoid the hindrances and embracing the benefits means less time spent on unproductive tasks, and more spent doing the things that matter: more productivity, better learning, more time for ice cream!

2. Leaders need to understand that banning AI is not an effective long-term solution

What an effective solution does NOT look like.

While we need to embrace AI’s benefits, we also need to understand how to deal with its negative consequences. Coming to more clarity on how we can mitigate the downsides is a much more complex topic, but one long-term solution we can clearly rule out is prohibition.

For one, the benefits to productivity AI are far too attractive for barriers to stop individuals from reaching for that tub of Häagen-Dazs. With early controlled studies on college students suggesting both substantial time savings and quality increases on writing tasks, even having to circumnavigate barriers might not be able to deter individuals.

Further, if AI tools are discouraged on a group level, users will have to be concealed, not only creating a productivity tax on individuals but more importantly killing the much more powerful group-level learning. By disallowing the active exploration of this technology and therefore the spread of knowledge around it, enforcement effectively stifles the building of culture and group learning and with it one of the main advantages of human cognition.

Denying the use of this technology also creates an identity of a forbidden treasure, incentivizing students to rebel for that greener grass. While prohibition can be an effective short-term fix, its antagonistic nature, inequality, and the pure attractiveness of productivity will inevitably lead to conflict and the erosion of trust, making it an unsustainable long-term solution.

Bringing this into our current state of education, while many academic institutions and classrooms have adopted prohibition as a solution, they must realize that this is not sustainable. The summer represents a golden opportunity to allow decision-makers to evaluate and instead, head towards negotiated and collaborative, not prohibitive solutions.

3. Schools should incentivize Centaurs to come forwards and share their use of AI tools

How to make the most AI tools

So, if the prohibition of AI tools is an ineffective solution, what can educators and decision-makers do today to reap the benefits of AI tools? We think there are two keys to the solution: trust and dialogue.


First, individuals can not fear speaking up about AI use and being open in discussions. Unless a basic degree of trust is established between students and faculty, students, inherently subordinate, will be unwilling to fully express opinions and share information, limiting the ability for collaboration and effective discussions. Having this sense of psychological safety means creating a group dynamic where individuals feel safe taking intentional risks, whether it be asking to reiterate a basic concept in class or showing off an innovative ChatGPT use case.

For educators, this means setting clear guidelines and expectations on what uses of AI tools are not acceptable, such that individuals feel free to explore new possibilities and ideate new solutions. These guidelines should be rigid yet flexible, keeping effective learning as the goal, such that students don’t feel stifled by arbitrary guidelines and understand the ethics behind a decision.

A degree of empathy and consideration is also essential, as guidelines are important but should not have the final say. For a technology as disruptive and as fast-growing as Artificial Intelligence, guidelines will inevitably become outdated and flexibility must exist.

However, trust is a two-way street, and student must also play their part. Once it is clear what is expected and why this is so, students should equally be transparent with their intentions and justifications. Educators and administrators should be able to have faith in students’ ethical judgements and trust that they are not being deceived.

There is so much yet to be discovered about AI’s potential to enrich learning, and coming to the table clean-hearted is essential for this discussion to be fruitful.

Incentivise Dialogue

Once trust is established, teachers and institutions should go one step further and encourage Centaurs to come forwards and share what they have discovered. As individuals showcase their personal perspectives and experiences, the collective intelligence of the group grows, allowing learning and exploration of a topic to happen at much faster rates.

To give an example, ‘Jim’ has just discovered the usefulness of ChatGPT for helping debug code and brings this to the rest of the class, to which ‘Alice’ adds on by advocating strongly for using GitHub Copilot, to which ‘Steve’ critiques as hurting learning, all of which the rest of the class is able to absorb and later apply. Because sharing and discussion were allowed to happen, a much deeper exploration of the topic happened and the group collectively grew smarter.

Again, none of this comes without first having a basic sense of trust. If Alice knew she would be penalized and criticized for openly admitting to using a tool the professor disapproves of, she likely would never have spoken up and the entire class would have lost out on much knowledge.

To encourage more of this group learning, teachers and administrators can set up structures to allow for open discussion and incentivize sharing. This could look like dedicated blocks of time to discuss what individuals have found, creating reading groups where individuals take turns researching a topic and sharing out, or even mandating an explanation of how students used AI in their assignments. These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg, and we encourage the same sense idea of trust and open discussion among teachers and administrators, such that teachers feel safe to experiment and are able to share insights with each other.

4. The Consequences of Productivity

Given that AI tools are allowed to prosper within the classroom, we will effectively find ourselves in a new age of education where learning has never been so optimized. And yet, the increases in productivity also present new problems to solve.

As processes become more efficient, others become outdated and redundant, leaving us with many difficult questions. As online resources become better, teachers may seem less necessary. As AI is able to automate many processes, administrators might find themselves with nothing but free time.

And granted, these fears have foundations. A recent paper which looked at which jobs would be most impacted by AI found that 18 out of the top 25 are educator roles. Yet, as Science of Learning expert Philippa Hardman points out, impact is also distinctly different from eliminate. With the ability to automate administrative tasks or easily generate content, educators can find themselves with the extra time and energy to better engage with their students, create better quality content, or even just have some well-deserved time off.

Equally, for students, being able to get personalized help understanding a dense reading means a lot of freed-up time, at home and in the classroom. Does this mean more challenging content? More homework and assignments? Certainly, that would mean learning more, but maybe there is also a point to questioning what types of work are most beneficial. Should we load students down with more mandatory readings and topics, or should we allow them to use this flexibility to explore topics they are interested in?


In order for AI tools to be used effectively in education, we need to have deep and inclusive conversations about how to integrate them and about the consequences of doing so. All those with the authority to make these decisions — teachers, administrators, and executives — need to be prepared for this reality and let advances for learning guide their decisions.

There are a lot of big questions to answer, and the first step towards doing so is acknowledging these questions exist and that they are difficult. These are not questions one person can or should answer by themselves, but ones which we should approach together, as everyone holds a stake in its answer.

There is scope on the website to register for discussions on AI in education and the pros and cons of that addition.  If you are interested in any of these discussions, for further information about each one, there is a Registration of interest button at the end of the summary of each topic, as follows:-

Extract from the Responsible Tech website:-

Empowering Responsible Technology in Education: The AI Consensus Initiative


Could you give us a brief overview of your project and how it aligns with responsible technology?

At the core of it, we are a group of students who care a tremendous amount about education and learning. In February, when we discovered the mismatch between AI’s immense potential to amplify learning and schools banning its use, we realized that as students in the very thick of it, we were in a perfect spot to help education responsibly embrace this opportunity. We hope to inspire invaluable discourse between stakeholders – students, educators, and administrators – and help bring together diverse perspectives that can push the field forwards.

While this goal will require advocacy for the integration of AI tools in education, it also means highlighting the very real negative consequences AI tools can have for cheating and learning. This means responsibly embracing technology and the benefits it can bring us, but keeping the betterment of education at the core of everything we do. This is why we founded AI Consensus.

What inspired you to pursue this particular project and apply for the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund?

We experienced firsthand how ChatGPT took education by storm. Overnight, with a few clever prompts, assignments that once took days could now be polished and submitted within an hour, at times without having read a single paper. Scenarios like these raised many difficult questions that everyone in education was forced to confront: When is using AI tools cheating? How does AI change what skills are valuable for the future? …What was the point of writing the essay in the first place?

While we are slowly forming better answers to these questions, it is also clear to us that the best way to do so is through thoughtful discussion and the free exchange of ideas. Thus, we decided to create a space where students and teachers alike can voice concerns as well as excitement and find direction to responsibly embrace AI tools in the classroom. We launched our initiative and, during the Aideathon in Hyderabad’s T-Hub Incubator, began discussing best Use Cases and potential classroom policies for Minerva.

In the process, it became clear that the challenges related to AI tools are best tackled with students and educators working together, combining youth’s enthusiasm with masterly experience. This is a challenge none can solve alone and so one we must work on as a collective.

Tell us more about the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund and how you plan to utilize the $35,000 funding to further develop and expand your project?

We were so gracious to have found the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund, where youth from all over the world are given the chance to forge their own paths and work on moonshot social ventures. This grant allows us to build the foundations for this movement we could not accomplish ourselves. While we know we are well positioned to make an impact, we are also aware of our weaknesses, and having these resources allows us to make the best of our abilities by drawing on the strengths of others.

Practically, we are hosting a series of events that bring together both students and educators to create collaborative discourse so that we can move into the future of education together.

What kind of impact do you hope to make in the field of responsible technology through your project?

We have two intertwined goals: to promote best practices for the use of AI tools in education, and to engage diverse stakeholders to solve a pressing global problem. By incorporating next-generation decision-making tools like pol.is within a global platform, we will be able to connect people that wouldn’t otherwise get to, giving a voice to previously underrepresented groups, and allowing us to centralize use cases and discussions around AI tools that can serve as a launchpad for effective more education.

How has your Minerva journey helped you build AI Consensus and secure funding for it?

We are very thankful for the position Minerva has put us in. We want to highlight a couple of factors:

(1) Minerva’s learning philosophy. Minerva encourages us to think about the real issues, look beyond the classroom, and not be afraid of solving the biggest problems that are out there. Its integrated learning philosophy, which we applied during our Foundation Year with Civic Projects and where we balance theoretical and practical learning, was surely one of the driving forces behind the project.

(2) Minerva’s Pedagogy. Minerva’s meta-competencies (Habits of Mind and Foundational Concepts) have given us the tools and skillset to critically assess the situation, identify a tractable problem, and translate that into clear, tangible actions which move us closer toward our final goal. In fact, we see what AiC is trying to accomplish not just as a huge opportunity not just for education, but also for us as Minerva students to prove the university’s reputation as a global educational and innovative leader.

(3) Minerva as a talent incubator. Living and constantly interacting with brilliant individuals from different backgrounds, levels of experience, lifestyles, and perspectives are ideal conditions for inspiration and action. While it is surely more difficult than working in a homogenous culture, it is all the more rewarding when you find that spark to make something happen. We believe no other school could give us an education where we would be so open-minded and able to endure and pivot that much. Fundamentally, Minerva’s philosophy is a startup one and we really appreciate that.

How did Minerva professors support you in your venture?

We would like to give a big huge shoutout to Professors Davis, Watson, and Powers who are part of our advisory committee and have been an invaluable sounding board for anything from advice and feedback to practical and emotional support. Thank you for all of your help so far and we would not be here without you.

At the same time, feedback from faculty was not all positive at the beginning and we met quite a bit of resistance. However, getting this feedback from the people who stand closest to what we are trying to accomplish was also a cardinal reminder of the headwind we will have to face and to stand strong and keep pushing.

What are your long-term goals for your project beyond the funding received from the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund?

We want to set a precedent for how we approach technology in education and in the ability for students to have a voice in their own learning. This means creating the go-to platform for the use of AI tools in education and the equivalent of a global student think-tank: a community of students from all over the world who are interested in the intersection of technology and sociology. We can not pretend our goals aren’t ambitious, but growth only starts by pushing boundaries.

You can learn more about AI Consensus and their events at aiconsensus.org.

If you were inspired by this story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, consider applying to Minerva.


 Democracy Ready NY – Prepare Every Student for Civic Participation


advocacy / policy

The Center for Educational Equity is a research and policy center at Teachers College, Columbia University, whose mission is to strengthen educational rights. The Center is the convener of DemocracyReady NY, a statewide, nonpartisan, multigenerational coalition committed to civic education and preparing all students to live engaged civic lives.


DemocracyReady NY is a statewide, nonpartisan, intergenerational coalition of organizations and individuals committed to preparing all students for civic participation.


  • Raise awareness about all students’ right under the New York state constitution to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need in order to engage, today and in the future, as effective civic participants;
  • Strengthen state education policy, practice, and investment with the goal of supporting that right; and
  • Mobilize the expertise of youth leaders, parents, educators, researchers, advocates, attorneys, youth-development specialists, and philanthropy to work collectively toward these goals.

National Civic Crisis

  • The last several years have highlighted some troubling developments in our national politics: an increasingly polarized electorate, lack of focus on substantive policy, and widespread acceptance of one-sided, erroneous information.
  • Other disturbing trends have existed for decades. A low proportion of eligible voters actually go to the polls; the number of citizens who participate in local community activities has dramatically declined; and more Americans than ever are neglecting basic civic responsibilities, like jury service.
  • These worrisome trends raise serious questions about how well schools are carrying out one of their most critical responsibilities—to prepare a new generation that is capable of safeguarding our democracy and stewarding our nation toward a greater realization of its democratic values—even though the U.S. Supreme Court and 32 state supreme courts have explicitly stated that preparation for capable citizenship is a primary purpose of education.

New York State Constitutional Right Not Realized

  • The New York State constitution guarantees every student in the state the right to education defined in terms of preparation for civic participation.
  • Far too many schools, particularly schools that serve students in poverty and Black and brown students, are ill equipped to provide this type of education and fulfill this critical guarantee.
  • If schools are not preparing students for active civic engagement, then they are not meeting their obligations under the law.
  • Many experienced educators, civic education experts, and democratic engagement advocates are surprised to learn this. Even fewer students and families have access to this important information.

New York Can Lead the Way

  • Equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, experiences, and values, young people recognize their civic roles and exercise their civic powers to work for meaningful social change.
  • Through a concerted effort by DemocracyReady NY and others who care deeply about civic preparation and engagement, New York can lead the way in ensuring that, from pre-K through 12th grade, schools prepare young people to strengthen our democracy.

About the Coalition


  • The DemocracyReady NY Coalition is convened by the Center for Educational Equity (CEE), a policy and research center, at Teachers College, Columbia University. CEE’s expertise and experience in students’ rights, education policy, civic participation, and public engagement position it to lead the Coalition.
  • Founded in 2005 by educational law scholar Michael A. Rebell, who successfully litigated the landmark educational-rights lawsuit, CFE v. State of New York, the Center for Educational Equity champions the right of children nationwide to a meaningful opportunity to graduate from high school prepared for college, careers, and civic participation. It works to define and secure the resources, supports, and services necessary to guarantee this right to all children, particularly children in poverty and Black and Brown children.
  • CEE Executive Director Michael Rebell is the author of the acclaimed 2018 book Flunking Democracy: Schools, Courts, and Civic Participation.
  • On November 29, 2018, Rebell filed a federal class action suit to establish a right under the U.S. Constitution to an adequate education to prepare young people for full civic participation. Read more about the lawsuit.


  • DemocracyReady NY Coalition partners are educators, researchers, academics, students, parents, advocates, youth-development specialists, legal experts, and civic leaders.  We strive to be geographically representative, politically inclusive, and racially and socioeconomically diverse.
  • Under the coalition’s banner, a broad and diverse group work together to strengthen the state’s education policy and practice to ensure all New York’s schools are fully equipped and supported to meet their students’ civic-learning needs.


The 26 organizations will use these funds to advance their work with projects focused on an array of technology issues ranging from

  • Ensuring responsible use of artificial intelligence
  • Protecting human rights and removing barriers to safety and well-being
  • Improving education access
  • Leveraging platforms to address social and environmental challenges, among others

“Societies globally are wrestling with major issues like the youth mental health crisis and the decay of our information environment. What and who can we trust online? Can online spaces be truly safe and affirm wellbeing? And what new systems can we create with, instead of for, young people?” said Emma Leiken, RTYPF Co-founder; Responsible Technology Team at Omidyar Network. “These questions touch on issues ranging from platform accountability to cybersecurity, privacy, digital literacy, data equity, algorithmic bias, and digital well-being and that’s what this fund’s grantees will tackle.”

Learn more about the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund and their inaugural cohort at: www.rtyouthpower.org.

The organizations partnering to invest into the fund are Omidyar Network, Hopelab, Susan Crown Exchange, The Archewell Foundation, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Carmel Hill Fund, Data Funders Collaborative, Flourish Impact Fund, New Media Ventures, Oak Foundation, The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Pivotal Ventures, Reynolds Lookup Fund, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


For more information or to help support the DemocracyReady NY Coalition, please contact the Center for Educational Equity at equity@tc.columbia.edu or visit centerforeducationalequity.org.

CEE Leadership

Michael A. Rebell, Executive Director and Professor of Law and Educational Practice

Jessica R. Wolff, Director of Policy and Research


Ivy Barrow

20 August 2023 


Reference Sources


4 Pillars for AI in Education. How to successfully integrate AI tools… | by The Centaur | Jun, 2023 | Medium

DemocracyReady NY | Teachers College, Columbia University

Events | DemocracyReady NY | Teachers College, Columbia University


AI Tools are Changing Education Forever.

Register for the Event:- https://lu.ma/aideathon

Shape the Future of Education

Register for the Event: https://forms.gle/GdeQTL36JHBsqbXJ7

About Us

We are students at Minerva University, ranked the World’s Most Innovative University, who are passionate about learning and creating a more effective education system. We started this initiative in Feburary 2023 in response to schools accross the world banning the use of ChatGPT in the classroom.

You can contact us at general@aiconsensus.org