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The youHQ approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the School and Wellbeing Space

AI has been gathering momentum for a number of years. With the recent AI summit in the UK, we felt it an opportune moment to reflect and produce a statement about youHQ’s relationship with AI and how we see it being used (and not used) within our platform.


We may all have different conceptualisations of what AI is, so first of all let's really consider what we mean by AI. In the broadest sense, AI describes the application of machine learning algorithms and technologies. In the simplest way, we’re talking about computers mimicking human cognition and being capable of thinking, learning, making decisions or taking actions. Everyday examples of this are chatbots, smart assistants like Siri or Alexa, and prompt writing chatbots like ChatGPT. It holds incredible potential to be of value to all of us, but there are a number of concerns about how it might be used or misused.


In the health and wellbeing space, it has already been developed to help assist therapy and diagnoses of mental health conditions. We are at the early stage of wide scale applications of machine learning - and there may well be huge benefits to humanity and society. However, we don’t truly understand the implications for us, how we learn to interact and develop relationships with the world around us.


Fundamentally, we see the wellbeing of young people as too precious to experiment without robust evidence to support its use. Because of this, the board has taken a cautious approach to its application in our platform.

youHQ was developed in order to help facilitate meaningful relationships between young people and their schools. That remains our absolute priority and, whilst we can see opportunities for how AI might help facilitate those conversations, we are concerned about the temptation to replace relationships with people for AI bots for the sake of convenience.


Three of the youHQ wellbeing platform directors at Bett 2023

Real human relationships are at the heart of who we are as humans and form the basis of our societies and cultures. They can be hard work, imperfect and deeply flawed but that's the essence of humanity, we’re all imperfect. We need those experiences of developing and maintaining relationships, of ruptures within relationships and the capacity and skill necessary to repair them. This is a fundamental skill we need in order to build meaningful and supportive networks with those around us.


AI will likely form an important part of our platform moving forward in helping facilitate real relationships and creating efficiency to allow teachers and schools the space to interact personally with the young people they are helping to nurture. We will not seek to replicate therapeutic interactions or as a substitute for relationships with their teachers.


We are open and reflective as a group and appreciate not all companies and organisations will take a similar approach. We welcome differing voices in order to develop our own understanding and enjoy robust discourse about the relative merits and risks of AI. We’ll continue to reflect and review the emerging evidence around AI, particularly in the school and wellbeing space and how it can be used safely and effectively using a strong evidence base.



 

This article was created by the Board of Directors at youHQ, a school wellbeing and personal development platform.


We believe in helping the mental health of teachers and students through values-based goalsetting and wellbeing support. Our cutting-edge app is changing the way schools care for their people.


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