Students who learn AI skills in higher education today will be among the most in-demand hires in a quickly-evolving workforce.

AI on the brain: The latest higher-ed news


Students who learn AI skills today will be among the most in-demand hires in a quickly-evolving workforce

Key points:

While education is notoriously slow to change, nobody can deny that AI has demanded its fair share of attention in higher education.

As with any technology or digital tool, AI is evolving quickly, and as it changes, advocates and naysayers aren’t afraid to share their views on what role AI should–or should not–play in higher education.

Here’s a look at some of the latest AI news to come out of the edtech industry, researchers, and from higher-ed institutions themselves.

Generative AI is changing the world, and the impacts it will have on the workforce mean higher education must evolve and adjust how it prepares students for professional success. A survey from Access Partnership and Amazon Web Services notes that most organizations will use AI by 2028. AI is expected to significantly alter how business is done in the foreseeable future. More than 90 percent of surveyed employers expect to use AI-related solutions in their organizations by 2028. In fact, almost all believe AI will positively impact their organization to some degree. In addition, the benefits of AI will be spread across the organization. The takeaway: Higher-ed must equip students with AI skills now.

The Southern Regional Education Board announced a Commission on Artificial Intelligence and Education. The two-year commission will convene leaders in education and business to chart a course for how AI is used in classrooms and how to prepare a workforce that is being transformed by technology.  “When used correctly, AI is a powerful tool capable of reshaping our education system,” said South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who will chair the commission. “By working together, we can overcome the challenges that AI presents and harness its power to ensure our students are prepared for the workforce of the future.” The commission started meeting in March to review research and industry data and hear from education experts. It will then develop recommendations for Southern states to lead in: using AI in teaching and learning, K-12 and postsecondary; developing related policies in K-12 schools, colleges and universities; and preparing students for careers in AI.

Arizona State University will be the first higher education institution to collaborate with OpenAI, the AI research and deployment company behind ChatGPT. This collaborative effort introduces the advanced capabilities of ChatGPT Enterprise to the university, empowering faculty and staff to explore the potential of generative AI to enhance teaching, learning and discovery, while also ensuring increased levels of privacy and security. By bringing the advanced capabilities of ChatGPT Enterprise into higher education, ASU is setting a new precedent for how universities can enhance learning, creativity and student outcomes, while remaining committed to leading in the innovation and responsible use of technology. 

Anthology’s AI Policy Framework is resource intended to support higher education institutions interested in developing and adopting specific policies and programs on the ethical use of AI within their institution. The AI Framework provides guidance on how to evaluate its broad implications, how to draft and implement policies, as well as a model for establishing governance. Anthology’s AI Policy Framework is built upon seven principles:  fairness; reliability; humans in control; transparency and explainability; privacy, security, and safety; value alignment; and accountability. These principles are rooted in international standards, aligning with the NIST AI Risk Management Framework, the EU AI Act, and the OECD Principles.

Applications are open for Purdue University’s new 100 percent online Master of Science in artificial intelligence degree, which features two majors, one for people who build AI systems and one for people who make use of them. Purdue’s interdisciplinary AI master’s degree is designed especially to meet the needs of two distinct sets of working professionals: AI builders and AI translators. AI builders are scientists and technologists who need robust training in machine learning, statistical methods, deep learning and data science to build and implement AI infrastructure. AI translators are business leaders and policymakers who need to make informed decisions regarding artificial intelligence and lead teams to adopt, incorporate and employ AI in their organizations. Among their roles are determining what results from AI systems mean and how those results should factor into business decisions and actions.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and Microsoft Corp. formed a new partnership to create an open dialogue to discuss how AI must anticipate the needs of workers and include their voices in its development and implementation. This partnership is the first of its kind between a labor organization and a technology company to focus on AI and will deliver on three goals: (1) sharing in-depth information with labor leaders and workers on AI technology trends, (2) incorporating worker perspectives and expertise in the development of AI technology, and (3) helping shape public policy that supports the technology skills and needs of frontline workers.

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Laura Ascione

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