HARTFORD: With many jobs expected to eventually rely on generative artificial intelligence, US states are trying to help workers beef up tech skills before they become outdated and get outfoxed by machines.
Connecticut is working to create what proponents believe will be the country’s first Citizens AI Academy, a free online repository of curated classes that users can take to learn basic skills or obtain a certificate needed for employment.”This is a rapidly evolving area,” said state Democratic Senator James Maroney. “So we need to all learn what are the best sources for staying current. How can we update our skills? Who can be trusted sources?”
Determining what skills are necessary in an AI world can be a challenge for state legislators given the fast-moving nature of the technology and differing opinions about what approach is best. Gregory LaBlanc, professor of finance, strategy and law at the Haas School of Business at Berkeley Law School in California, says “we need to figure out what is AI not good at and then teach those things to workers”.
This year, at least four states – Connecticut, California, Mississippi and Maryland – proposed legislation that attempted to deal with AI in the classroom somehow. They ranged from Connecticut’s planned AI Academy, which was originally included in a wide-ranging AI regulation bill that failed but the concept is still being developed by state education officials, to proposed working groups that examine how AI can be incorporated safely in public schools. Such a bill died in the Mississippi legislature while the others remain in flux. One bill in California would require a state working group to consider incorporating AI literacy skills into math, science, history and social science curriculums.
While Connecticut’s planned AI Academy is expected to offer certificates to people who complete certain skills, Maroney said the academy will also include basics, from digital literacy to how to pose questions to a chatbot.