How Should American Workers Prepare for Artificial Intelligence?

Professional Development

How Should American Workers Prepare for Artificial Intelligence?

Dec 21, 2016

EDUCATING AN AI WORKFORCE: Will robots really take our jobs? As artificial intelligence (AI) technology advances, a new White House report offers three policy strategies that can help prepare Americans for a changing and increasingly automated economy. Highlights include:

  1. Invest in and develop AI: The Obama administration believes government agencies have a role to play in investing and building AI technology. Areas for AI advancement listed in the report include “cyberdefense and the detection of fraudulent transactions and messages.” That kind of research and development will require skilled workers, and the report also emphasizes the need to promote diversity in STEM and AI fields.
  2. Educate and train Americans: As more jobs typically performed by human workers become automated, Americans will need more education and training in newly emerging technology and jobs of the future. “This starts with providing all children with access to high-quality early education so that all families can prepare their students for continued education,” the report reads, “as well as investing in graduating all students from high school college- and career-ready.”
  3. Aid workers in the transition: Changes in our economy and workforce will require changes to our social safety net, particularly for services and programs such as unemployment insurance, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The report also emphasizes that “increasing wages, competition, and worker bargaining power… will be important aspects of supporting workers and addressing concerns related to displacement amid shifts in the labor market.”

The study comes about two months after the White House released a companion report surveying the state of AI technology and its potential applications. The Obama Administration will release in the coming months a follow-up report “exploring in greater depth the effect of AI-driven automation on jobs and the economy.”

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