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Preparing Hawaii’s Future Workforce For the AI Revolution

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Technological revolutions have a steep learning curve. Consider the advent of the internet, the proliferation of personal computers and mobile smart devices, and now, artificial intelligence. If there’s one constant, it’s that learning never ends. And the learning curve for AI may be the steepest — and most important yet.

The pace of AI innovation is quickly changing every industry, from finance to fast food, defense to communications. Consequently, nearly every practitioner in every field will need some level of AI comprehension to remain competitive within the workforce.

It’s crucial for those in Hawaii to understand how to upskill for AI, as economic success will depend on talent that can navigate technological evolution. Unfortunately, the demand for the talent pool that has this knowledge far outstrips the supply – highlighting the need for an education system that can build and sustain an AI talent pipeline.

As it stands, relying solely on higher education and professional training programs is insufficient to build “AI-as-a-skill” to meet the ever-growing need across Hawaii and the wider U.S. AI training resources need to be made more broadly accessible. To ensure a sustainable talent pipeline, AI education must be integrated into all aspects of our education system – not only in terms of coursework, but also in the ways teachers teach, and students learn – beginning at K-12, to prepare our youth for the age of AI.

AI In The Classroom

In the realm of modern education, it’s not just about upgrading the skills of today’s workers — it’s also about nurturing the next generation. We need to equip them with the acumen to navigate the ethical mazes and harness the bountiful career opportunities that AI offers right here on island.

Generative AI, once eyed with skepticism, has rapidly shifted from a novel idea to an educational powerhouse. Just a few months in, we’ve witnessed an inspiring transformation. Educators, initially hesitant, are now weaving AI into the classroom, empowering students with knowledge critical for tomorrow’s job market.

Concept of using artificial intelligence in teaching Through computers, videos are learning for the school in the future. It is a new form of online education.
flat illustration.
Educators need to nurture the next generation especially when it comes to artificial intelligence, weaving it into the classroom and empowering students. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The rise of generative AI is a defining moment. Our approach must evolve to meet this challenge head-on, recognizing the power of AI to revolutionize education. But let’s dial in on the real game-changer: Large Language Models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s GPT-4. These aren’t just tools—they’re reshaping education from standardized testing to how we define “21st-century skills.” Educators must be adept in these technologies to prepare students for their inevitable intersection with AI in future careers.

How do we make this leap? It begins with tailored training for the educators—they are the unsung heroes, the bridge between our youth and the ever-advancing technological frontier. Initiatives like the AI Education Project (aiEDU) are lighting the way, providing indispensable resources that have reached an impressive breadth of educators across nations and states.

Additionally, the push for national AI learning standards is more than just a policy move; it’s a strategic necessity. Hawaii is already pioneering these efforts, and if we play our cards right, these early strides could lay a solid foundation for a cohesive national strategy in AI education.

At the heart of this movement is a core belief: AI education must be an inclusive endeavor. It’s not just about shaping a skilled AI workforce; it’s about cultivating expertise from Hawaii’s rich tapestry of cultures, ensuring that AI doesn’t just evolve, but does so with the highest ethical standards, reflecting a myriad of perspectives. Recent guidance like the Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence drives home the need for a broad and diverse workforce capable of using AI responsibly.

Let’s not be content with mere participation in the AI revolution. Hawaiʻi is poised to lead, to set a benchmark for the nation, to prove that when we talk about preparing for the future, we’re not just following trends—we’re setting them.

Transformation And Creation Of Jobs

Until 2023, AI was abstract for most people. But in 2023, we’ve witnessed an explosion of generative AI capabilities that are rapidly positioning themselves to take on a range of rote, data-heavy tasks, from industry trend analysis to medical diagnoses to supply chain optimization. Major tech influencers like Microsoft and the Department of Defense have a presence in Hawaii and have recently announced pushes to integrate generative AI tools into their enterprises.

As this technology continues to permeate all aspects of our lives, learning how to leverage AI will be the difference between job loss and job transformation in the region. Integrating this education early in schooling is essential to ensuring tomorrow’s workforce grows alongside AI’s evolving capabilities, keeping pace with the global economy, and closing the widening skill gap.

The challenge ahead will be anticipating the necessary skills that meet the needs of the future economy, and embracing AI on a wide scale is the next critical step. The best way to achieve this is to start by engaging our keiki in every classroom.

Source : CivilBeat