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AI in Students' Curricula will Determine the Global Power Balance in the Future

In a world recently introduced to the wonders of generative AI, it seems like governance is still playing catch-up, scurrying about in a bid to regulate this fledgling marvel. Yet, there's more to the narrative than meets the eye. Cast your mind back to a previous discussion where we unveiled how generative AI might have fast-tracked our journey towards a future where AI not only matches human intellect but empathizes with our weekend brunch woes, essentially leapfrogging a whopping 40 years off McKinsey's projections.


Now, a race is underway among nations, each vying to birth the first human-level AI. The stakes? Oh, they're colossal. Imagine the ripple effects on economic landscapes, military dominions, and the strategic vantage such an invention could offer. It’s reminiscent of the time when humankind first crossed paths with computers, and subsequently, the boundless realm of the internet.


Looking back at history, it was the illustrious British mathematician, Alan Turing, who ushered in the era of programmable computers in the 1930s. His legacy didn’t end there; he's the brain behind the Turing Test, a measure of AI intelligence. Following Turing's trail, the world witnessed the birth of ENIAC in 1945, the inaugural general-purpose electronic digital computer on American soil. This was but a prologue to a cascade of computational marvels like UNIVAC, catapulting the US into a technological vanguard and arguably paving its way to becoming a global authority in AI, as illustrated below.

Global AI Index – Country Ranks

Source: Tortoise Intelligence

As the contours of this new race take shape, the goal is clear - crafting the ENIAC of human-level AIs. While governments are abuzz with this new pursuit, a clear roadmap to the destination still eludes them. Yet, the torchbearers in enterprises and educational bastions have caught wind of the trend.


Fostering Talent is the Foundation of Future AI Development

Today, AI is no longer a novelty but a necessity, and enterprises are in a frenzied hunt for AI expertise. The objective is clear: either forge their own AI solutions or adeptly integrate those crafted by others. This fervor has fueled a global uptick in job opportunities within the AI and generative AI domain, boasting a 2.2x surge from July 2021 to July 2023.

“Worldwide AI and generative AI job postings increased 2.2x on average between July 2021 and July 2023” LinkedIn Research

Singapore stands as a testament to this global trend. Once a land where generative AI job postings were nearly non-existent at the year's dawn, witnessed a crescendo to nearly 20% by August, as per the metrics from job search titan, Indeed.


Source: Indeed

This burgeoning demand hasn't slipped past the watchful eyes of academia. Across the Pacific, in the heart of Texas, an educational vanguard has taken a pioneering stride. The University of Texas (UT) at San Antonio, in a collaborative endeavor with UT Health San Antonio, has unfurled the blueprint of a groundbreaking dual-degree melding of Medicine and AI. This five-year course, the first of its kind, is sculpted to forge a new breed of medics, adept not only in healing but also in programming AI. The curriculum, a blend of a Doctor of Medicine and a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence is an invitation for aspiring doctors to helm dialogues on the various healthcare avenues where AI could be a boon—be it diagnostics, prognosis, tailoring treatments, or meticulous planning.


This educational transformation is but a reflection of the generative AI market's monumental growth. As the titans of tech in the US jostle to retain their crowns amidst a burgeoning crop of AI startups, the clamor for AI talent escalates. Students, with eyes set on a secure future, are drawn toward these tech giants, in turn fueling a rising demand for AI-centric academic avenues. It's this demand that will likely spur more tertiary institutions like UT San Antonio to intertwine AI modules with their STEM offerings.


A robust reservoir of AI talent is not just an academic asset, but a national treasure. It's a magnet for innovation, a beacon for investments, and a hallmark of a nation's prowess in AI. While the US government has so far maintained a balanced stance on generative AI, shying away from outright bans, it's yet to champion a formal framework for integrating AI usage in scholastic realms. However, the winds of change are in the air. It's anticipated that a realization of the imperative to seed AI curricula in the fertile grounds of early education will dawn, in order to ensure the US remains at the forefront of AI globally.


Mom! I Got An “A” for AI

Once more, we venture into the dawn of computing, a time post-ENIAC's emergence in 1945. A good fifteen years elapsed before the realms of academia embraced computer science within their scholarly fold. The period of the 1960s saw illustrious institutions like MIT, Stanford, and UC Berkeley unfurling the banners of their nascent computer science departments. Fast forward to the 1980s, and the personal computer renaissance, heralded by icons like the Apple II and IBM PC, marked an influential juncture in computer education. With the veil of exclusivity lifted, computers were introduced to middle and high schools across the US, morphing from rarities to regular features in classrooms. Fast forward to today, and even the academic landscapes of elementary schools are imbued with computer classes.


Now, let's entertain a notion—what if the advent of human-level AI echoed the revolutionary cadence of computers? Its incorporation within scholastic curricula wouldn't be a far-fetched endeavor. The trailblazing dual degree conjured by UT San Antonio is similar to the 1960s when academia first extended its arms to computer science. Yet, unlike the leisurely pace of the past—15 years post-ENIAC, this modern-day academic development emerged with a brisk stride, mere months following the meteoric rise of generative AI, spotlighted by OpenAI's ChatGPT in November 2022.


Ponder upon this trajectory, and one could foresee the hallways of middle and high schools humming with the discourse of AI in a short span of 1-2 years. It's a plausible foresight, especially if the US nurtures aspirations of retaining its crown in the global AI arena. The diagram below sketches a vivid narrative—the US, albeit with a populace dwarfed by China and India, boasts a robust 22.5 million AI professionals. The nation also claims a lion's share of spots within Time's coveted roster of the top 100 computer science universities.


Source: Tortoise Intelligence

Yet, a gaze into the future reveals a looming shadow. Nations like China and India, endowed with vast human reservoirs, are poised to sculpt colossal AI talent pools in the days to come. India's stride is already resonant, with its army of AI professionals swelling swiftly. The onus thus beckons the US leadership—to kindle the flames of AI curiosity within the tender minds of its youth and to foster the AI geniuses of the future. An early introduction not only sows seeds of inspiration but cultivates a breed of superior AI talent—a paramount asset for the US to fortify its lead in the AI narrative firmly.


The crux of the matter reveals a stark reality—if the US tarries in weaving AI modules within its K-12 education curricula, another nation shall seize the baton, potentially triggering a cascade of events, a butterfly effect, that could recalibrate the geopolitical equilibrium in a world increasingly steered by AI.

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3 komentáře


guanlong he
guanlong he
09. 10. 2023

As usual, a great article. I found the history to be very interesting and the information presented to be insightful, which prompted further thought into how our future would look like.


It was also definitely interesting seeing Singapore ranked third on the Global AI Index, and that piqued my interest as a Singaporean. I was curious to see how Singapore stacked up against the global hegemons given its limited geography and talent pool.


Given the meteoric rise in AI and its applications, I think it is quickly becoming a common thought that AI or computer science would become a staple in education, so I would personally find it interesting if we could go one step further and paint an image…

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Walter Tong
Walter Tong
09. 10. 2023

Insightful read Simeon. I love the historical context provided in the article and how far we have come since the ENIAC. One thing I would like to see more could be the inclusion of more perspectives. The article predominantly focuses on the US position in the global AI race and while it is crucial, are there any differences in the approach taken by US compared to other AI-leading nations? Do you see a pathway where other nations could tip the scales in their favour?

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Sean
Sean
09. 10. 2023

I am excited to see how the inception of human-level AI could potentially shift the power balance in the world, and who will emerge victorious in this new arms-race.


One thing I am curious about is how AI would shift the power-balance and who could potentially be the biggest beneficiary of an ENIAC AI model based on socio-economic factors. Interesting read!

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AI in Students' Curricula will Determine the Global Power Balance in the Future

In a world recently introduced to the wonders of generative AI, it seems like governance is still playing catch-up, scurrying about in a bid to regulate this fledgling marvel. Yet, there's more to the narrative than meets the eye. Cast your mind back to a previous discussion where we unveiled how generative AI might have fast-tracked our journey towards a future where AI not only matches human int ....

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