McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Thu, 07/18/2024 - 18:12

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

The Dean’s Corner: Mental Health Awareness and Exploring AI

Google Code for Remarketing Tag - Bloom

Dr. Carola Weil, Dean of Continuing Studies, discusses the importance of practicing good self-care and how AI is shaping the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.

As I write this note, I am reflecting on the past 14 or so months of remote working and living. Although we have not been able to connect in person, each one of us is doing our best to keep up our routines and to be productive. But it is important that we practice good self-care as well. Many of us are continuing to struggle with health challenges, losses, and stresses, not just related to work and studies, but to everyday life. There are so many uncertainties for which no one — including your Dean— has answers. A hallmark of humankind is its ability to adapt, to learn, and to rise stronger from adversity. But this is not something we can or perhaps even should do alone. There is no shame in acknowledging mental health challenges: fatigue, fears, frustration. There are numerous resources available to support your mental health.  Please take a moment to review them and perhaps take advantage of options that fit your needs.  

 At the same time, I am excited about the future – both long-term and near. SCS continues to strengthen its role in the world of digital transformation with new programs in Applied Artificial Intelligence and Applied Cybersecurity on the horizon. Jamie Meriotis, in his book, on Human Work in the Age of Smart Machines, highlights that “rather than be defined by a job, people increasingly are defining themselves by their ability to do various kinds of work, and by their talent.” He goes on to argue that while AI will automate many, if not most, repetitive tasks (and even some complex, higher order functions, I would add), “human work” becomes all the more important. According to the author, such work “blends human traits such as compassion, empathy and ethics with our developed human capabilities such as critical analysis, interpersonal communication, and creativity.” This is precisely what SCS is all about – the transformation of the whole human and society, not just training for a particular job or function. In fact, I believe that most of the jobs that our graduates will ultimately perform, and the work that we ourselves engage in, might not even have been invented yet. That is the beauty and excitement of a future infused with artificial intelligence: in many ways we will have a much greater range of tools and abilities to take leverage changing opportunities that come our way.  

There is one challenge in the world of artificial intelligence that we cannot ignore:  the potential for bias and unethical applications of technology. As an institution that prioritizes inclusion of diverse voices and heritage, and equitable access to knowledge, we must consider the consequences of a world engineered or designed by a handful of individuals. How can we ensure that the dynamic, technology-driven world we live in now and in the future does not inadvertently exacerbate existing systemic racism or bias against particular groups? As we innovate and create new worlds and futures, let us remember that humankind is only as strong as the ties that bind us together. 

Back to top