HomeArtificial IntelligenceArtificial Intelligence NewsBipartisan bill aims to bolster AI education in the U.S.

Bipartisan bill aims to bolster AI education in the U.S.

On Thursday, Sen. Maria Cantwell unveiled new legislation that includes numerous measures aimed at bolstering artificial intelligence and quantum computing education and job training in the United States.

The bipartisan proposal was put out by Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, a Republican, and Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state and chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

According to Cantwell’s comments, there is a growing demand for AI expertise. Through this bill, students at all levels will have access to AI, and our workforce will be upskilled to promote American tech innovation, entrepreneurship, and progress in tackling the most difficult global challenges.

The senator proposed a “AI bill for education” earlier this month at a Technology Alliance event in Seattle. The G.I. Bill was a significant post-World War II policy that assisted millions of American veterans in attending college and obtaining professional training.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is mandated by the AI bill, known as the NSF AI Education Act of 2024, to implement a number of programs enhancing American proficiency in AI and quantum computing—a technology that solves problems faster than could be possible with traditional computers. Among the suggested programs are:

  • Providing scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study in artificial intelligence with an emphasis on its applications in advanced manufacturing, education, and agriculture; also offering quantum computing scholarships and programs that combine traditional and quantum computing.
  • Grants for study on the application of AI in agriculture.
  • Establishing fellowships for professional growth for STEM and education professionals.
  • creating AI “Centers of Excellence” at five or more community colleges around the country to work with instructors to provide teaching resources for AI.
  • Making instructions and resources available for K–12 students to use AI in the classroom.
  • Starting the “NSF Grand Challenges” to create a strategy for training at least a million AI workers by 2028. Among its objectives is to help underrepresented groups in tech, such women and rural people.

Microsoft’s corporate vice president of U.S. government affairs, Fred Humphries, stated that the business would back the proposed legislation. “An important first step that will help support students, professionals, and institutions, including community colleges, prepare for and leverage the opportunities brought about by AI,” Humphries said in a statement on the act.

Cantwell has regularly supported computer-related legislation and supported Washington state tech businesses. In the late 1990s, he held the position of vice president of marketing at Seattle-based RealNetworks.

Cantwell declared, “The entire Pacific Northwest is on the way to becoming America’s ‘Quantum Valley,'” in a statement announcing the bill.

Among the businesses in the area engaged in quantum computing are Microsoft, Amazon, and IonQ. Additionally, research in the topic is being conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of Washington, and Washington State University.

According to a statement from Kirk Schulz, president of Washington State University, “this legislation offers a tremendous opportunity to strengthen efforts to educate and train the next generation of Washington students to become global leaders in AI and quantum hybrid computing.”

Senator John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Ted Young of Indiana, and Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who are Republicans, and Cantwell co-sponsored the Future of AI Innovation Act in April. Encouraging public-private partnerships in the field of artificial intelligence, the proposal seeks to advance U.S. leadership in this area.

The Washington senator’s 2020 AI bill was not passed.

Earlier this year, Cantwell played a key role in the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act’s enactment. This legislation invests in research and development in various fields, including artificial intelligence, robots, clean energy, nuclear power, and quantum computing, and offers incentives to stimulate semiconductor production in the United States.

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