Artificial intelligence is not the future. He’s been here today or a long time – depending on who you ask. As we enter 2023, it is not enough to say that 2023 is “the year of AI” – the past few years have all been “the year of AI”. I believe 2023 is the year of AI education.
What is AI Education? I’ve written before about AI literacy and the need for everyone to understand AI on some level. AI Education is the process of becoming AI Literate.
The past few years have seen a massive expansion of targeted AI education initiatives. In particular – a shortage of data scientists has led to a surge in data science programs and certifications, as well as tools to support citizen data science – enabling anyone to build AI and data science models data without code. However, the AI education I am referring to is not for data scientists – it is AI literacy for everyone.
Why is 2023 our pivotal year for AI education? Consider a few factors
- ChatGPT, large language models and generative AI. Great language role models have been with us for a few years – doing everything from telling jokes to creating beautiful art. However, with the advent of the latest language models, these AIs can now be used to write documents, create questions, generate new recipes, and pretty much anything else we can think of. Other types of generative AI are used to generate medical images and creative art. This evolution means that AIs are now a valuable support tool for every job.
- AI is in our homes, cars, and phones, and the list goes on. AI surrounds us every day. These devices learn about us, make decisions for us, interpret and use our personal information in all sorts of non-obvious ways. As our day unfolds, AIs decide everything from the best route to take, which movies are recommended to us, what interest rates we get, and whether stores with cameras consider us risky.
- AI education has entered K-12. The past year has seen a massive increase in K-12 AI curricula, with books and programs targeting elementary through middle school and high school students. Teachers are bringing AI into their classrooms and students are doing science fair projects and building apps with AI.
- The AI laws (and prosecutions) have begun. It is a sure sign that the technology is reaching the mainstream – society has to deal with the positives and negatives of the technology, its laws rushing to follow the results. Governments are beginning to introduce AI frameworks – from the US AI Bill of Rights to European Union AI law.
- The ubiquity of AI technologies has forced institutions at all levels of society to make decisions about how to manage the AI around them – whether it’s cities debating the use of facial recognition by the police, or schools deciding whether students can use ChatGPT to write essays.
What does all this mean? It’s not just that AI is in our lives and homes (that’s been true for a while now). We have now taken the next step: AI is now present in all our professions (whether we are lawyers, marketing managers, human resources specialists, nurses, teachers or schoolchildren). There are tools we can benefit from, dangers we must manage, and policies we must understand and implement.
The above factors show why 2023 should be the year of AI education, but how to believe that it will be actually be the year of teaching AI? A few (albeit) unscientific answers come to mind
- I’ve seen a rapid growth in the number of professionals from all fields eager to understand “what this AI thing is.”
- We are witnessing the beginning of the “AI-enabled practitioner”. An AI-enabled practitioner is someone who is proficient in AI and uses their AI knowledge as needed in their work. Practitioner is a change – AI is no longer the only province of highly skilled computer scientists – AI education is now a requirement for everyone.
- In conversations with hundreds of K-12 teachers and school leaders, there is near-unanimous agreement that they and their students will benefit from greater gender inclusion. understanding of AI in their classrooms.
It’s 2023. It’s time to learn AI.