Margaret M Kelly on AI and Education: Is AI Education’s Savior or Saboteur?

By Jennifer Johnson Jennifer Johnson has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on September 28, 2023

Almost every industry is finding itself invaded by artificial intelligence (AI), and education is no exception. In the latest episode of “Grit Daily Startup Show” with Phillip Lanos, guest Margaret M. Kelly, COO of Dimension Admissions, delves into the nuanced relationship between AI and education, specifically focusing on the thorny issue of college admissions.

From personalized learning to ethical dilemmas, this episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in the intersection of technology and education. In this article, we’ll explore some of the insights Margaret shares, but for a deep dive, you’ll want to listen to the entire podcast episode.

The Educational Promise of AI

AI has the potential to transform education in several ways, with AI-powered systems having the ability to customize educational materials to each student’s unique learning style, strengths, and weaknesses. In fact, schools and educational platforms are already implementing this, offering students an unprecedented level of personalized education.

By automating administrative tasks, AI liberates educators to focus on what they do best — teaching and inspiring. Having AI operate in such a capacity would free up significant resources, allowing for a more equitable distribution of high-quality educational opportunities.

The Advent of AI in College Admissions

AI is actively influencing the way colleges admit students. Advanced algorithms sift through thousands of applications, scoring them based on various factors such as GPA, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and more.

While this use of AI streamlines the admissions process and perhaps even removes some human biases, Margaret points out that it also opens the door to other ethical and logistical issues. For instance, AI algorithms might inadvertently reinforce societal biases or overlook exceptional talents that aren’t easily quantifiable.

The Ethical Dilemmas: Genuine vs. Generated

Perhaps one of the most contentious uses of AI in education that Margaret discusses is the rise of AI-generated essays. Such technology can churn out coherent, well-structured essays within minutes. But the problem, she argues, lies in the lack of authenticity.

AI-written essays may be grammatically flawless, but they often lack the unique voice and perspective that admissions officers look for to diversify their student body. The issue raises important ethical concerns about the dilution of individuality and merit in the admissions process.

The Fine Line Between Aid and Deception

The ethical quagmires don’t end with essay writing. AI’s increasing sophistication also raises concerns about its potential for deception. Advanced algorithms can easily fabricate achievements or exaggerate facts on a student’s resume. Unless these claims are meticulously cross-verified, they might go undetected, creating unfair advantages and, in the worst cases, leading to wrongful admissions. It is a gray area that needs stringent ethical guidelines, Margaret argues.

Striking a Balance: The Future of AI in Education

Margaret offers a balanced perspective, emphasizing that while AI brings a wealth of opportunities, it is not a panacea. Its deployment in educational settings needs to be approached with caution. There’s a need for checks and balances to ensure that AI’s capabilities are being used ethically and effectively. AI could either be a force for good, democratizing education, or it could deepen existing inequalities. The key is in how we choose to harness its powers.


Margaret M. Kelly’s insights into the role of AI in education are invaluable in understanding both its promise and its pitfalls. As we move further into the digital age, safeguarding the core values of education — authenticity, integrity, and human connection — becomes all the more critical.

If you’re intrigued and want to explore subjects we haven’t covered here — such as Margaret’s interesting take on how AI can be utilized to detect plagiarism in academic settings — then make sure to listen to the complete episode. It’s a treasure trove of nuanced perspectives that challenge us to consider AI’s role as either a savior or a saboteur in modern education.

By Jennifer Johnson Jennifer Johnson has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Jennifer Johnson is an Operations Specialist and Booking Producer at Grit Daily.

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