Exploring AI: Implications for Education and Beyond


Date: Saturday, March 16th, 2024 

Time: 9am to 4.30pm

Location: Room 550 and 560

Join us for a one-day interdisciplinary workshop focused on exploring the nature of AI technology and its implications for education and society. The event is intended to be of particular interest for post-secondary educators, administrators, students, and others who wish to better understand recent advancements in the field of AI and what it might mean for education. It will encompass a range of topics, including the nature and limits of LLM technology, putting current AI technology into historical context, evaluating AI’s potential role in the classroom, and grappling with the social and ethical implications of the technology. The goal of the event is to offer an informative and interactive experience, where participants can not only foster a deeper understanding of these rapidly developing technologies, but also engage with expert speaker panels in Q&A sessions. Additionally, the event is also intended to serve as a platform for valuable networking, collaboration, and the fostering of supportive academic communities.

Thanks to the generous support of Columbia College, there’s no cost to attend. However, capacity is limited. Please RSVP in advance!

Event Agenda

9:00 am – 9:30 am: Check in & Registration.

9:30 am – 12:30 pm: First Panel – Understanding and Framing The Technology

Panel Format:

Each speaker will deliver a 45-minute presentation, after which there will be a 40-45 minute session dedicated to audience questions directed at the panel.


  • Kent Schmor (Columbia, Philosophy): Framing AI Debates
  • Vered Shwartz (UBC, Computer Science): Debunking the Magic behind Large Language Models
  • Sun-ha Hong (SFU, Communications): The History and Legacy of ‘Intelligence’ in Artificial Intelligence

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm: Lunch break.

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Second Panel – Perspectives on AI in Education and Society


  • Chelsea Rosenthal (SFU, Philosophy): AI and The Right To Explain
  • Elisa Baniassad (UBC, Computer Science): Concerns and Possibilities For Educational Applications of GenAI
  • Marc Champagne (Kwantlen, Philosophy): Why It’s Foolish To Say “If You Can’t Beat The AI Trend, Then Join It”

Our Speakers

Kent Schmor is a Philosophy Instructor for both Columbia and Langara Colleges, and previously taught for UBC, SFU, and the University of Pittsburgh. Before that, he completed his MA at the University of Pennsylvania, and his PhD at the University of Illinois Chicago. His research focuses on the history and philosophy of twentieth century science, with a particular focus on the extent to which there’s a philosophically neutral perspective from which to understand and evaluate new developments in science.

Vered Shwartz is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia and a CIFAR AI Chair at the Vector Institute. Her research is concerned with natural language processing, with the fundamental goal of building computer programs that can interact with people in natural languages. In her work, she is teaching machines to apply human-like commonsense reasoning which is required to resolve ambiguities and interpret underspecified language. Before joining UBC, Vered completed her PhD in Computer Science at Bar-Ilan University and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Allen Institute for AI and the University of Washington.

Sun-ha Hong is Assistant Professor in Communication at Simon Fraser University, Canada, and was previously Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT. He is the author of Technologies of Speculation: The Limits of Knowledge in a Data-Driven Society (2020), and is working on his next book, Predictions Without Futures.

Dr. Marc Champagne is a Regular Faculty member in the Department of Philosophy at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Canada, where he teaches philosophy of technology, logic, and occasional ethics courses for Policy Studies and School of Business programs. Before coming to KPU, he taught at York University and Trent University. He has a PhD in Philosophy from York University, a PhD in Semiotics from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), and did his Post-Doc at the University of Helsinki.

Elisa Baniassad is the Acting Academic Director of UBC’s Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, where she is overseeing the faculty professional development and technical support for Generative AI in an instructional setting.  She sits on the Generative AI Steering committee, and on the LLM and Teaching and Learning working groups. She holds a faculty position as a Professor of Teaching in Computer Science.

Chelsea Rosenthal is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Simon Fraser University.  Before joining the faculty at Simon Fraser, she was an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Center for Bioethics at New York University.  She received her Ph.D. from NYU’s Philosophy Department and a J.D. from the Law School there.  Her research focuses on ethics, philosophy of law, and political philosophy, with current projects on moral uncertainty, privacy and AI ethics, and the ethical responsibilities of lawyers.