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On Being a University's First Chief AI Officer

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Western University Chief AI Officer Mark Daley

"ChatGPT was where everything lit on fire," Daley says. "Immediately the conversation was 'How are we going to respond to this?'"

Credit: Geoff Robins

Western University, Ontario, Canada, has created a top-level AI role, appointing Mark Daley as its first chief artificial intelligence officer.

Outside of higher ed, the concept of a chief AI officer isn't new. Higher education has been slower to adopt such C-level changes, despite some institutions investing heavily in AI and hiring hundreds of employees focused on teaching the technology.

Daley appears to be the first top-level chief AI officer at a higher education institution. The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University did hire a CAIO in March 2022, but, unlike Daley's, it was not a university-wide position.

In an interview, Daley discusses his role, inquiries from other institutions, and the need for AI leadership.

From Inside Higher Ed
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