Artificial intelligence, civic education and information science

By | May 7, 2023

By Ioannis Peeta*

The pre-election period this year, as well as the Rector’s elections, for example in the AUTH, coincide with great publicity for the issues Artificial intelligence (TN), especially Large Linguistic Models of the ChatGPT type [1]. This is not an accidental development: AI is here to stay and will have a major social and economic impact. Typical is the rather distressed message sent to me by an English Literature grad who said something to the effect of ‘I’m impressed with ChatGPT’s translation capabilities’. What will happen to our profession? How can I study TN if it’s not too late yet?’

It is good to open a public political dialogue on these issues, as I see that has already been done with the issues of Education. This article refers precisely to the relationship of IT and Information Sciences with the necessary (for me) improvement of the educational system at all levels in Greece and in general.

Artificial Intelligence is humanity’s response to a global society and to the increasingly complex natural world. The physical and social complexity increases with processes that are very deep and seem unstoppable. Therefore, IT and citizen education are our only hope for a smooth transition from today’s Information Society to a Knowledge Society. I use the term ‘citizenship education’ on purpose to emphasize the need for conscious citizens with critical thinking, abstraction and precision, imagination and emotional intelligence who are capable of understanding, adapting and ultimately harnessing and benefiting from the vast technological possibilities. and economic. and job prospects that are opening up before us. It is no coincidence, I think, such a level of education is in demand today in many jobs internationally. [2].

The need for such education pervades all educational levels and all social strata. A 1/3-2/3 society, where 1/3 of the population understands and benefits from scientific progress, while 2/3 are left behind poor and technophobic, is simply not sustainable. The development and transmission of knowledge will simply not be enough. Therefore, we may face a catastrophic social collapse, as happened, for other reasons, in the High Middle Ages.

Fortunately, the basic concepts needed to understand Artificial Intelligence and Data Science are simple and can be taught at all educational levels. I experienced it in a recent lesson attended by 11 middle and high schools from all over Greece. All that is needed is political will and educational readjustment so that these concepts are taught adequately, at least with a rearrangement of the subject of Mathematics and Computer Science. Of course, we are led to a (partial) mathematization of education that seems inevitable. It is not certain that this is possible, given the traditional (natural or artificial) separation of positive and classical direction. But classical studies are also an ideal tool for developing critical thinking and precision. Of course, in such an environment there is no room for rote memorization, subject banks, the offering of skills instead of knowledge, and the obsession with examining a few subjects at the expense of broader knowledge. Comparing the knowledge acquired by my generation (60+) with that of my children (30+ now), it seems that our education system has taken many steps backwards and few steps forwards (for example, in foreign languages ​​and computer skills).

Especially in the Universities, the educational changes will be drastic and will come immediately (most). Here are some suggestions that I laid out in detail in my book ‘AI Science and Society’ [2] and I dare say or hope they are prophetic:

1) Creation of Faculties of “Engineering and Information Sciences” with departments:

Information technology


Computer Engineering

Artificial intelligence

of Internet Sciences.

These efforts are already taking place internationally. Although driven by demand, the generative cause is the emergence of information as an autonomous scientific object, at the same level as matter (Physics, Chemistry), the environment (Engineering Sciences) and life (Health Sciences, Biology). It seems that Computer Science is already becoming the mother science of other sciences. The same thing happened in the 19th century: Physics and Chemistry gave rise to Engineering Sciences.

2) Creation of “Mind/Social Sciences and Engineering” departments in the Schools of Humanities (perhaps another term would be more appropriate). I think this is my most groundbreaking proposal. Right now, it is the humanities that are under the most pressure, which is not immediately understandable. The mathematization of classical subjects (for example, Linguistics, Sociology) has come a long way. The only alternative that I see is the creation of departments of ‘Philological/Linguistic Engineering’ or ‘Social Engineering’ in Polytechnics or in faculties of Sciences or Information Sciences and Engineering. I would not like to experience the withering of the Humanities Schools that will follow.

3) Creation of “Biosciences and Engineering” departments in the Faculties of Health Sciences (including other related sciences, for example, Pharmacy, Biology). Essentially, it will be a drastic evolution of the Bioengineering Departments with the addition of new subjects, e.g. Genetic Engineering and Systems Biology.

4) Addition of compulsory subjects of Mathematics and Computer Science to all Sciences without exception. Simply, a single (poor) Statistics course does not cover current needs.

Some of the above (not all) have already been proposed or implemented at the international level. Given the ossification of our educational system, I am not naive in believing that such ideas can be implemented without backlash or overnight.

But I believe that such proposals (and other better ones) can be discussed both at the political level and within the Universities (at the scientific level), so that our country enters the new era in the best possible conditions.

[1] Ioannis Pitas, “Artificial Intelligence Science and Society, Part A: An Introduction to AI Science and Information Technology,”

[2] Ioannis Pitas, “Artificial Intelligence Science and Society Part C: AI Science and Society”, Amazon/Createspace,

*Ioannis Pitas ( is a professor in the Department of Informatics at AUTH and president of the International Academy of Doctoral Studies in Artificial Intelligence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *