If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Millions of students attend community colleges every year, with almost 1,300 schools located in every corner of the United States. With their large student bodies, community colleges are a massive source of potential for expanding the artificial intelligence (AI) workforce, but employers and policymakers alike sorely underestimate their potential. If the United States aims to maintain its global lead and competitive advantage in AI, it must recognize that community colleges hold a special spot in our education system and are too important to be overlooked any longer. As detailed in a recent study I co-authored as part of Georgetown University's Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), community colleges have the potential to support the country in its mission for superiority in AI. Community colleges could create pathways to good-paying jobs across the United States and become tools for training a new generation of AI-literate workers.
Nate writes about the intersection of education and technology. He's also worked as a newspaper staff writer covering K-12 and higher education, business, local government, and public safety. Intel and Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona recently announced the opening of a new on-campus artificial intelligence incubator lab. The lab is part of the AI for Workforce Program. Launched in 2020, the program's goals include helping students get workforce ready by equipping them with hands-on AI knowledge, skills, and experiences.
The partnership will create a consortium offering support and infrastructure so that community college students can receive artificial intelligence training affordably and with fewer barriers. Intel and Dell have partnered with the American Association of Community Colleges to launch artificial intelligence incubators throughout the country. The 18-month initiative will utilize the expertise of both companies along with the knowledge and industry connections of the nation's community colleges. Because the demand for training in AI far outstrips higher education supply, community colleges could provide a critical link in the talent pipeline. The partnership will create a consortium offering support and infrastructure so that students can receive instruction affordably and with fewer barriers.
Remember surround sound home theater & 3D TV? The promise was real but the technology was premature. Unlike my younger Millennial cohorts, I can remember a time before the Internet took off. Al Gore may have invented it (or not) before my lungs first cried "Hello, World!" but like all nascent technologies, the Internet took a while to develop & fan out. A few years before the awful sound of dial-up modems became commonplace, my first experience with this new thing called the Internet was at my mom's workplace - the local community college.
Over the years, this biweekly letter has provided me with the opportunity to fully and fairly document just how much free time college students can have if they try. My college roommates tried really hard. They found time to make prank calls to the campus literary magazine, create enough frost in our fridge to throw snowballs out the window on 90-degree days, leave old pizza in the entryway for the stated purpose of growing penicillin for a roommate who couldn't afford antibiotics, and organize campus recruiting events for fake investment banks. When these time-wasting activities required a fake identity, the persona of choice was John W. Moussach Jr., an alumnus turned successful Midwestern industrialist. Last week I looked online for remnants of John W. Moussach Jr. and came upon neither the Wikipedia page my roommates built after graduating nor the Moussach aphorism that somehow made it onto Wikiquote ("We have all heard the Will Rogers quote'I never met a man I did not like.' In my youth, I met a World War I veteran who had met Will Rogers. The veteran told me, 'I never met a man I did not like until I met Will Rogers'"), but rather an article on something called Study Sive which purports to feature higher education news.
A computer programming associate degree program takes only two years to complete and qualifies graduates for jobs building websites, writing code for software, and providing computer support to users. An associate degree can also serve as a prerequisite to a bachelor's degree in computer programming, which employers often prefer or require. As virtually every business, organization, and agency uses computer programs to operate, opportunities in this field should remain steady. Computer support specialists, for example, should see a projected 9% job growth increase during 2020-2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS projects a 13% employment growth for web developers.
TechRepublic's Karen Roby spoke with Carlos Contreras, AI and digital readiness director for Intel, about addressing the artificial intelligence skills gap with the AI for Workforce Program. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. Karen Roby: We talk a lot about the tech skills gap. It seems like AI and cybersecurity are the two we tend to talk about a lot, that we need more people ready to fill those roles. But at Intel, you guys are building on a program to help change this and bridge the gap.
The program aims to prepare community college students for careers tapping AI skills. Intel said Tuesday it's expanding a program that aims to educate tomorrow's engineers and technologists on the intricacies of artificial intelligence and help them find jobs in their chosen field. The AI for Workforce Program offers students courses on data collection, computer vision, AI model training, coding, the societal impacts and ethics of AI technology. Students who complete the program will be awarded a certificate or associate degree in artificial intelligence. The program began as a collaboration with an Arizona community college but is being expanded to 18 community colleges in 11 states through a partnership with Dell Technologies, which will provide guidance on how best to configure AI labs for teaching in-person, hybrid and online students.
Intel on Tuesday announced that it's partnering with Dell Technologies to expand its AI for Workforce Program, which helps community colleges develop AI certificates, augment existing courses or launch full AI associate degree programs. With Dell providing technical and infrastructure expertise, the program will expand to 18 schools across 11 states. The program is designed to help students gain the skills they need to fill the growing number of jobs related to AI. Intel helps community colleges develop courses on a range of topics, including data collection, computer vision, AI model training, coding, and the societal impacts and ethics of AI technology. "The next-generation workforce will need skills and training in AI to develop solutions to the world's greatest challenges, and community colleges play a huge role in unleashing innovative thinking," Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a statement.
Today's digital world has created a booming demand for new skills, including the technical knowledge to develop artificial intelligence (AI) tools as well as the aptitude to apply and use AI in the workplace. But a new survey of higher education officials suggests that demand for AI training is outpacing supply and the current ability of higher education institutions to meet that demand. The study, which polled 246 prequalified higher education administrators, educators and IT decision makers from a mix of community colleges, four-year colleges and vocational schools, also suggests that while higher education officials recognize the growing demand for AI instruction, 52% of them say they are struggling to attract instructors to teach AI courses. One reason is that the demand for AI subject matter experts -- and what companies are willing to pay them -- is so high in the commercial sector that schools are having a hard time competing for talent. But the study, conducted in April/May 2021 by EdScoop and underwritten by Dell Technologies and Intel, also found college officials face a variety of other challenges.