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Expanding AI skillsets: Navigating education, regulation, and bias

Expanding AI skillsets: Navigating education, regulation, and bias

Picture31117 - Business ExpressBy Derek Mackenzie, CEO at Investigo, part of The IN Group

AI offers huge business benefits and for these to be capitalised upon, organisations must ensure they are educating their staff across all areas. This means not only furnishing staff with the skills they need to deliver results, but also in areas such as regulation. Additionally, an awareness of how AI works, how systems are developed and implanted, is vital to ensure human biases and prejudices do not seep through.

The UK government has announced a £118 million funding boost for AI skills to cement its global AI expertise and lead the next generation of research and development. An increased focus on skills is a hugely positive sign for businesses looking to utilise this emerging piece of technology and they must work to further support skills development.

Educating our workforces

AI capabilities are advancing more rapidly than our educational programmes can keep up. To address this, we must establish a lifelong learning approach and regularly update our curriculum.

Just a few months ago, AI was a mere buzzword, but now, technology advancements such as ChatGPT have thrust themselves into the public spotlight. The rapid pace of technological change means businesses are chasing a constantly shifting target.

Students will likely start university courses that quickly become outdated, creating a knowledge gap between teachers, students, and professionals. Many jobs in the current workforce didn’t exist in the relatively recent past, highlighting the challenge of integrating digital skills into knowledge-based curricula. To address this, education needs to shift towards lifelong learning, continuously updating curricula to prepare the next generation of tech professionals.

As demand for AI skills rises it is good to see the UK supporting training and development in such a fast-moving field. The key to maximising the potential of AI is the people operating it, working hand-in-hand to streamline processes and ensure AI works for their needs.

Distinguishing between AI-generated content and human-authored content has become a progressively challenging task. AI detectors, the tools designed to identify AI-generated content, are struggling to keep up with the evolving sophistication of AI models. This predicament has notable implications for education, particularly in terms of how we approach learning and assessment.

Given the limitations of AI detectors, traditional methods of education and testing may require a substantial overhaul. As AI-generated content becomes harder to distinguish from human-created content, educators and institutions may need to explore innovative approaches to ensure that students are adequately prepared for a future where AI is omnipresent. This could involve shifting towards new educational paradigms and evaluation methods that account for the growing role of AI in various domains.

Remaining compliant

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As the rapid advance of AI technology continues to reshape the business landscape, it’s becoming evident that organisations now require a broader skill set than just AI expertise. In addition to technical competencies, they must also possess regulatory skills to effectively address the mounting concerns surrounding data privacy and security. This entails not only knowing how to collect, store, and safeguard the data utilised by AI systems, but also developing comprehensive usage policies and implementing them effectively, especially concerning AI models like ChatGPT.

As AI’s prominence within organisations grows, we can expect a surge in the implementation of policies and regulations to govern its use. To navigate this evolving regulatory landscape, legal and compliance teams will need to undergo specialised training to effectively manage AI’s impact on their workforce and customers.

Interestingly, while concerns persist regarding AI’s potential to replace human workers, it’s worth noting that AI’s expanding role may also create new employment opportunities, particularly in the legal sector. Consequently, we may see adjustments and enhancements in legal curricula to prepare the next generation of legal professionals for the intricacies of AI-related regulations and compliance.

Discrimination free approach

AI systems have the potential to amplify human biases and prejudices, emphasising the necessity of implementing a suitable framework and training procedures to proactively prevent unintentional discrimination. By addressing these issues, organisations can mitigate the risk of biased AI outcomes and promote fairness in the deployment of AI.

AI bias arises due to human decisions regarding the selection of data used by algorithms and how the outcomes of these algorithms will be utilised. When thorough testing and diverse teams are both lacking, unconscious biases can seep into machine learning models.

To help ensure an unbiased AI system and prevent unconscious discrimination, organisations must educate their data scientists on how to avoid embedding their own values into AI models and establish guidelines for responsible AI.

Moreover, businesses should promote transparency around how data is collected, stored and used, enhancing their comprehension of how algorithms formulate predictions and decisions. AI faces a persistent challenge in being perceived as a “black box,” where consumers can observe inputs and outputs but remain unaware of the internal workings of the AI. Therefore, companies should aim for greater clarity, enabling individuals to grasp the mechanics of AI and its potential impact.

As demand for AI skills rises, it is great to see the UK government offer support to businesses in regard to training and development. The key to maximising the potential of AI is to ensure the people operating it are provided with the necessary skills and resources to do so.

Upskilling and educating workforces through training programmes, while ensuring a conscious effort to continuously update curricula for our future generations to ease the recruitment and training process, is vital.

As we seek to capitalise upon the revolutionary benefits that AI offers, a revised approach is needed from education, businesses and government combined to shift our approach and upskill our future, and existing, workforces.

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