Artificial Intelligence: U.S. Lags Behind in Educating Students – Study



April 25, 2018 –


The United States educational system gets a failing grade for not updating curricula and training for teachers to prepare America’s youth in artificial-intelligence skills.

America’s educators rank just ninth among all nations in terms of preparing students for the real world of automation, according to a study released by a research group associated with The Economist magazine.

The study is entitled, “THE AUTOMATION READINESS INDEX: WHO IS READY FOR THE COMING WAVE OF AUTOMATION?”

Needed skills

The report points out the demand for soft skills in critical thinking and science and technology skills will skyrocket. But America’s youth is not being prepared for automation.

With the rapid changes in technology, Americans will need to be flexible and constantly improving their skills. That will require a strong background in artificial-intelligence techniques, computational thinking and robotics.

Naturally, this doesn’t bode well for the future of the U.S. workforce nor for the careers of young people.

Better soft skills will be needed for solving problems that robots cannot. Additionally. it’s already generally accepted that America’s young people aren’t adequately learning science and technology skills.

The U.S. isn’t alone. Only a relatively few countries are updating their curricula and training for teachers.

“Very few countries are taking the bull by the horns when it comes to adapting education systems for the age of automation,” Saadia Zahidi, head of education, gender and employment for the World Economic Forum, says in the report.

“Those that are have long had a clear focus on human capital development. These are countries in northern Europe and the Nordic region, as well as Singapore,” she adds.

“No one has gotten to grips with the required strategic planning for educational change in this context, and there is a dire need for it,” says Rose Luckin, professor of learning-centred design at the University College London.

Misguided priorities

“America is overinvesting in traditional higher education – it spends a much higher share of GDP than do other countries but gets too little return on these resources,” says Peter Morici, Ph.D. “Employers report that 4 in 10 graduates lack the critical thinking skills necessary for entry-level professional work, and too often four years of college adds little to students’ analytical abilities,” he adds.

Dr. Morici is a professor at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business, former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission, and five-time winner of the MarketWatch best forecaster award. (See his economic forecasts here.)

He says higher education’s priorities are ill-advised.

“Universities are pouring millions in attractive amenities and big time sports. Students spend about one-third less time in class and studying than in the 1960s but have plenty of leisure to demonstrate against alleged micro aggression, sexism and racism of conservative professors and engage in social activism enabled by university presidents bent on molding intolerant liberals.”
-Dr. Morici

“Universities are pouring millions in attractive amenities and big time sports. Students spend about one-third less time in class and studying than in the 1960s but have plenty of leisure to demonstrate against alleged micro aggression, sexism and racism of conservative professors and engage in social activism enabled by university presidents bent on molding intolerant liberals,” he asserts.

Economist’s solutions

Dr. Morici advocates redirecting federal and state funding from higher education to encourage more innovative programs in apprenticeships.

“The Department of Labor certifies apprenticeship programs. Usually completed in well less than four years, those generally offer about $15 an hour while students take courses and get hands-on experience,” says the economist. “On completion, 87 percent of students are in positions that pay an average of $60,000 a year – for college graduates the average is about $50,000 and subtracting the above-mentioned skills-based majors, the college average is a lot less.”

He supports a jobs initiative by President Trump.

“About two-thirds of apprenticeships are in construction and manufacturing, but President Trump sees great opportunity in the service sector and has doubled the DOL budget for cultivating apprenticeships. Private actors like Wells Fargo, professional services firm Aon PLC and the National Restaurant Association are building out programs,” he says.

“In the tech sector, Course Report connects students to some 95 coding schools – those annually matriculate about 23,000 graduates through programs that last about 14 weeks, cost about $11,000 and place graduates in jobs with starting salaries averaging nearly $71,000,” Dr. Morici says.

“Through the online portal Coursera, Google offers an 8-to-12 month IT Support Professional Certificate program that connects graduates with employers like Bank of America, Walmart and GE Digital,” he adds.

“More formalized schools are emerging like Holberton School in San Francisco, which trains software and operations engineers in two years and the fees are 17 percent of students’ internship and first three years post-graduation earnings,” he points out.

Leading countries

Back to the automation readiness report – its “automation readiness” index in education policies indicates the leading countries include Canada, Estonia and the United Kingdom.

The leading nations have made artificial intelligence a priority and teachers have been well-trained for the demands of automation.

Some nations have begun experimentation on methods to fund lifelong learning.

For instance, Singapore grants its citizens $500 in lifelong learning accounts. The money is earmarked for training by training firms sponsored by the government.

Finally, we’ve heard a lot of discourse in America about artificial intelligence, automation and robotics. But comparatively very little has been accomplished.

The onus is on U.S. leaders in public policy, educators and businesses to implement education and training programs Americans can use.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant articles:

Future of the Workplace: Robots Making Business ‘Smarter’ — If there was ever a need for people to become expert in technology and learn senior-management skills, the time is now. Non-exempt, lower-level jobs are disappearing. New software “robots” in numerous industries are increasingly taking over and making business “smarter,” according to senior-level managers who responded to a survey.

Artificial Intelligence: How to Maximize Your ROI — You will maximize your return on investment in AI with these strategies.

Seattle Tech Recruiter Provides Career Advice, Makes Prediction — As tech companies watch the debate in Congress on visas, one fact remains: They still need skilled workers. Here are insights from a tech recruiter.

Unemployment Stems Partly from Inadequate Education, Skills — The economy is difficult. However, in this knowledge-technology era, millions of American workers would be employed, if they kept in mind two adages.

Solution to Cure Worker Skills Gaps, Underemployment — An innovative solution has been unveiled to solve a big economic conundrum. The solution is designed to create 25 million new jobs and help grow the economy by 4 percent.

“Artificial intelligence is growing up fast, as are robots whose facial expressions can elicit empathy and make your mirror neurons quiver.”

-Diane Ackerman


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Artificial Intelligence: How to Maximize Your ROI


Strategies to maximize your return on investment in AI



It might surprise you to learn artificial intelligence (AI) has its roots dating back to ancient Greek mythology.

Seriously, that’s true according to a site devoted exclusively to artificial intelligence, AITopics.org:

Greek myths of Hephaestus, the blacksmith who manufactured mechanical servants, and the bronze man Talos incorporate the idea of intelligent robots. Many other myths in antiquity involve human-like artifacts. Many mechanical toys and models were actually constructed, e.g., by Archytas of Tarentum, Hero, Daedalus and other real persons.

It accelerated after the developments of modern computers following World War II.

As we’ve realized in the 21st century, AI presents both benefits and risks.

Business and all of society benefit from the superintelligence provided by AI as long as technology is effective and productive.

Competence and goals are important.

AI outperforms many functions by humans but it’s problematic if your computers crash, are hacked or are programmed with bad intentions or develop destructive methods.

So, the question arises: How does a company maximize its return on investment in AI?

Here are five strategies:

1. Real value results from proper planning for growth

While AI has the potential to cut expenses, the focus should be on growth and expansion. That includes innovation in products and services, efficiency for productivity and gaining market share.

AI is optimized when adopted at every level of technology from value chains to pricing and understanding the preferences of customers.

2. Investment is needed in both human resources and technology

You cannot fully benefit from AI in technology if your employees aren’t prepared. Your culture must be transformed.

It’s a complex process. You must start slowly in baby steps.

You must anticipate your future needs.

Management and staff must be educated and trained in cross-functional teams, if you will, in all processes and operations.

Then, another dilemma – finding the right people for the new jobs – recruitment of new employees for the requisite technical job categories.

3. Be flexible, aggressive and fine-tune your objectives and processes

Your best bet is to stay focused on growth – innovating new products and fine-tuning your business model. Cutting expenses are certainly important, but it shouldn’t be the salient focus.

To better capitalize on the technological benefits of AI, stay on offense.

4. Stay committed to automation

AI is maximized if you retain access to strong data and assimilate it into your systems. This means having a simultaneous intensity devoted to your AI and digital systems.

Your systems aren’t effective and true assets unless they’re fully used – from all of your technology in operations and customer service to your financial system to employees.

5. Continue to cultivate and develop AI

Take steps to insure you have an abundant AI environment for success, an increase in knowledgeable workers, U.S. job creation, AI knowledge and related benefits.

Make certain its fully embedded in your organization. Lead by example in your sector.

As in other public-policy issues affecting your business, be proactive in encouraging government policies to further the development of AI ecosystems.

What do I mean? For instance, lobby for tax AI breaks and in immigration for tech visa quotas. Support research grants, public-private sector partnerships and insist on protecting citizens’ privacy in data.

From the Coach’s Corner, related topics:

Future of the Workplace: Robots Making Business ‘Smarter’ — If there was ever a need for people to become expert in technology and learn senior-management skills, the time is now. Non-exempt, lower-level jobs are disappearing. New software “robots” in numerous industries are increasingly taking over and making business “smarter,” according to senior-level managers who responded to a survey.

Forecasting 5 Trends and the Future of Marketing — With all the dynamic changes that businesses have experienced in opportunities and threats, it’s important to anticipate the future. But forecasting can be tricky. So, the one dynamic you can anticipate – constant change – both positive and negative. Be aware of these five marketing trends.

10 Innovation Tips to Boost Your Long-Term Customer Base — Businesspeople are constantly under pressure. Daily events make it challenging to make critical decisions for financial sustainability. Businesses must innovate to survive. Here are 10 key questions to ask about your business.

Increase Your Business Value with 5 Basic BPO Strategies — For your company to achieve higher performance, you often need to enhance your business processes. In essence, this means turning your attention to business process optimization (BPO), which is a holistic approach. The benefits: With BPO, you’ll be able to evaluate and authenticate your existing practices and create new processes via imagined situations.

How to Avoid Failure in Risk Management and Strategic Planning — Incredible as it might seem, companies fail because they underestimate strategic risks – yes, strategic blunders instead of common sense – according to an authoritative study.

“As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership.” 

-Amit Ray


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.