AI Literacy | What It Means, Why It’s Important and How It Can Re-Shape the Landscape of Communities, Education + Work Force.
Literacy is defined as the ability to read, write, speak and listen, and use numeracy and technology, at a level that enables people to express and understand ideas and opinions, to make decisions and solve problems, to achieve their goals, and to participate fully in their community and in wider society. What does this mean within the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and why is it important for not only our future, but also our present?
AI Literacy begins with a basic understanding of what AI is, the language surrounding the technological and social aspects of AI, how AI works and how it is currently playing a role in our daily lives, in addition to the potentiality of future implementations in all professions and industries. The objective of AI Literacy is to eradicate the misconceptions around AI and to create an all-inclusive ecosystem where all members of the community are armed with the basic skills needed to pursue further learning to better adapt to a changing world where AI will be prevalent.
According to the report New York’s Automation Outlook compiled by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, it is projected that by 2037, the total number of jobs lost or changed in New York State is estimated at 4,802,351. While current misconceptions surrounding AI may project these numbers as a bleak outlook for the future of our work force, the implementation of AI Literacy within our community and educational arenas, serves to alleviate the potential negative impacts of an AI driven world through education and skill acquisition.
Currently, the demand in the fields of AI research and development outweighs the supply of a skilled workforce. This demand is expected to grow exponentially within the next ten years. Additionally, AI development demands diversity in all avenues of its creation and implementation. In order for us to progress successfully into uncharted territory, it is imperative that AI education is available to all members of our society and that minority and under-represented groups within the community also have access to developing educational opportunities – both within the current educational system with programs such as STEM and STEAM as well as education through community-based programs, projects and outreach.
The AI Center of Excellence in Troy, NY is setting the stage in New York State to create and cultivate a program of AI Literacy by working not only with universities and higher education, but also with K-12 programs, continuing adult education and veteran services, and various community outreach programs. It is the hope of the AICOE, that the Capital Region is poised as the epicenter of a diverse AI literate culture, and that it serves as a model for the rest of the state, and country – to ensure that all members of the community have access to AI education and skill development.
The AICOE, through its AI Literacy program, intends to offer educational opportunities through, workshops, mentorships, lectures, community-based projects and classes at various levels within the community, applying appropriate teaching methodologies for each sector, with the AICOE serving as the hub of this program. Additionally, working in tandem with university partners to develop AI driven courses and internships, and to facilitate further research to better comprehend the needs of the evolving work force as we transition to an AI centric economy.