Fusion, D2L’s annual user conference, is back. This year we’re in Anaheim, California, and we’re focused on personalized learning moments—those instances where you have a breakthrough, make a connection, or find clarity on your learning journey. These are the moments that make learning personal and meaningful. They give us motivation to keep going. They open our eyes to our true potential.
As we’ve been exploring learning moments this year, we’ve heard from many of you about those special, personal moments when you made the jump to the next level of your learning journey, whether it was a small step or a major leap. And we’ll be gathering more of those stories in person at our conference—I can’t wait to hear them.
I also think it’s fair to say that, as a society, we’re currently experiencing a learning moment when it comes to new technology like generative artificial intelligence (AI). Since powerful new large language models became easily accessible to the public a few months ago, generative AI applications have caused significant shifts in our collective thinking about our world—how it operates and how it might work in the near and distant future. We’re learning a lot, very quickly and things are changing fast.
At D2L, we’ve spent a lot of time in 2023 thinking about generative AI. As I wrote back in February, we will keep an open mind about how new technology can impact learning. We’re staying curious and learning quickly as we approach and apply generative AI and other AI technology to improve the learning moment. You’ll see some of that in action at our Product Spotlight later this week or in some of the labs here at Fusion.
To that end, we’ve come up with some guiding policies on AI and have posted them here. If you’re also curious about generative AI and learning—I recommend reading them in full.
These principles and policies that we have developed (and will continue to iterate) are firmly rooted in the values that inform our mission to transform the way the world learns, and D2L’s commitment to responsible and compliant business practices:
We believe that AI systems must uphold the privacy rights of our customers, both in the development and use of AI systems and in providing our customers control over their personal data, including automated decisions that are based on their personal data.
- Bias and non-discrimination
D2L strives to incorporate AI systems that result in fair and productive learning experiences. We are committed to working with diverse datasets and to implement processes to detect potential statistical and other bias in results. And we recognize perfection here is going to be very hard, and we can do our part by continually shaping our tools to remove bias.
- Robust security
We believe that AI systems must be tested and operate reliably and securely throughout the system lifecycle.
We believe that AI systems should be designed and developed to enable clear interpretation of their outputs and to provide relevant stakeholders disclosure about when, where, and how systems are used.
Our practices related to AI should be clear and accountable to internal and external stakeholders. D2L will invest in appropriate mechanisms to support the safe and responsible use of AI.
We’ll remain curious and open-minded about the possibilities of generative AI—just as we have done when we’ve considered the uses, implications, and impacts of previous forms of AI that have been embedded thoughtfully into our platforms for over a decade.
This year at Fusion, I’m looking forward to having more conversations with our customers and users about their learning moments, and how we can move forward together—including how we integrate and use AI. This is a fascinating time, full of breakthroughs that are coming to fruition now after many years of work, full of potential for positive progress, and full of questions to which we must all find the answers as colleagues and partners to create a better future.
We’re all learning. And we’re in this moment together.
See you at Fusion!
CEO and Board Chair
John founded D2L in 1999, at the age of twenty-two, while attending the University of Waterloo. D2L is a global software company that believes learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests.
A strong believer in community involvement, John devotes both his personal and business efforts to supporting young entrepreneurs who are developing and applying technology to improve society worldwide.
He was appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Member (Entrepreneurs’ Circle) of the Business Council of Canada, Business Higher Education Roundtable, Past Chair of the Board of Communitech, and is a board member of Canada’s National Ballet School.
John was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (Ontario for Software and Technology), Young Alumni Achievement Medal from University of Waterloo, and Intrepid Entrepreneur of the Year in Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.
John graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering, with First Class Honours and an option in Management Sciences.
LinkedIn: John Baker
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