$1 million will finance artificial intelligence program at Palm Beach State College
America’s economy and national security rely heavily on technology, and thanks to a million dollars in federal funding announced Tuesday, students at Palm Beach State College can better prepare for the increasingly high-tech future.
An effort to train college staff and students in artificial intelligence — along with virtual reality, augmented reality and powerful computer programs — is among 15 local projects included in this year’s federal budget at the request of U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.
The project not only offers students a chance to learn about cutting-edge technologies and high-paying careers, but also the potential to one day attend the University of Florida’s incoming West Palm Beach campus. UF hopes to open the local graduate school, which will include artificial intelligence courses, in the next several years.
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Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the use of computers and machines to “mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind,” according to IBM, the multinational technology company once based in Boca Raton.
Such technology is found in self-driving cars, online stores, medical diagnoses, robots used for manufacturing and “so much more,” the Computing Technology Industry Association has reported.
Those capabilities are growing more essential to businesses across every industry, Frankel said, announcing the funding at Palm Beach State College’s campus near Lake Worth Beach.
“A recent report from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence made it clear that the United States is lagging behind in workforce training on this,” Frankel said. “So this is very, very important to our own competitiveness and our economic prosperity.”
The University of Florida, a key partner in the project, has gone “all in” on AI technology over the past two years, said David Reed, UF’s associate provost for strategic initiatives and the inaugural director of UF’s new AI center.
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Concerns that America is “behind the curve” on AI technology
He, too, cited the Security Commission's report and concerns that America is “behind the curve” on AI technology.
“If we want to catch up with friendly nations and not-so-friendly nations, we better hurry,” he said. “And so, for the last two years we’ve innovated at the University of Florida how to teach artificial intelligence to students who have no background in computer programming.”
Reed said UF hired more than 100 new faculty members who now use AI. Some of those same people will visit Palm Beach State College in the coming months to share what they’ve learned about using new technology in the classroom.
The local artificial intelligence program, he said, is “the first of a long line of collaborations between the University of Florida and Palm Beach State College.”
And PBSC's president, Ava Parker, affirmed her commitment to the burgeoning relationship with UF on Tuesday.
“It’s so nice to have you as a new neighbor and, even more importantly, that we can join our faculty together and have an opportunity to exchange information and really expand artificial intelligence programs within our community,” Parker said.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Artificial intelligence is coming to Palm Beach State College