Thursday, 10 December 2020 14:21

Local High School Senior Affects National Change

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Paul Tonko, one of just a handful of engineers currently serving in Congress, announced Dec. 8 his Artificial Intelligence Education Act passed the House as part of this year’s final National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 335-78. 

The bipartisan legislation would establish grants and other support to be administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help K-12 students develop artificial intelligence (AI) skills, experience and a deeper understanding of the ethics and social implications of this emerging field. 

The original idea for the bill was presented to Tonko by then - Shaker High School senior Nathan Wang, who is now a freshman studying biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

“We have only begun to scratch the surface of what AI can do to revolutionize our health care, manufacturing, technology and other fields that will drive America’s 21st century economic and technological growth,” Congressman Tonko said, in a prepared statement. 

“I was excited to receive this recommendation from Nathan Wang, who was a Shaker High School senior at the time, to expand K-12 training in AI education,” Tonko added. “I’m proud to say we introduced and advanced a powerful piece of legislation to deliver on Nathan’s vision. I remain hopeful that this inspiring bill will be signed into law this year, thanks in large part to the tireless work of our Science, Space and Technology Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson, and I urge my colleagues to continue to support our efforts to open the doors to AI education to all of America’s students, educators and schools.” 

Tonko’s AI Education Act would ensure that artificial intelligence education is accessible to K-12 students, increase awareness of potential ethical, social, safety, and security risks of artificial systems, promote curriculum development for teaching topics related to artificial intelligence, and support efforts to achieve equitable access to K-12 artificial intelligence education.

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