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Preparing Aussie students for an AI-powered future

 

AI (or artificial intelligence) is something many of us probably don’t think about often but without realising it, rely on it heavily in our everyday lives.  

Every time Google Maps saves you two minutes on your dash to an appointment, or “auto correct” offers you spelling options for your emails and texts, or you do online banking, or Netflix recommends yet another Scandi-noir thriller for you, that’s AI at work. 

And while AI makes our lives easier, it can also make our lives safer and healthier. To name just a few examples, AI technologies are being used to detect COVID-19 in the way people cough, predict the risk of having a heart attack and develop more effective emergency management strategies.   

At TDM, we are passionate believers that digital technologies will power our economy and society in the very near future. But at the same time, we know Australia has a serious and growing digitech and computer science skills shortage. If we want to cultivate a world-class culture of innovation, we will need thousands of digital and technology specialists to take up the jobs of the very-near future. These jobs include software developers, data analysts and engineers, algorithm specialists, business intelligence developers, product managers and user experience designers. 

It’s estimated that in just two years, there will be 100,000 new digitech jobs to fill. But each year, only about 7,000 students will graduate with the necessary skills to fill those jobs.  

As a nation if we can’t close this gap, we will struggle to compete internationally and will risk losing our best minds to those countries which place a premium on digitech and AI capabilities. 

And that’s why we are so excited to be bringing the Day of AI to Australia. 


So what’s the Day of AI about?
 

Developed by one of the global leading universities in technology, MIT, and i2 Learning (a US-based education provider), the Day of AI is all about introducing school students to the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a world that will be powered by AI.  

In a day of creative, fun and hands-on activities, students and teachers will be able to immerse themselves in AI. Topics cover everything from the basics of what AI is, through to design and creation exercises using AI and understanding the benefits, potential risks and ethical considerations.   

Anyone who’s spent any time with children knows that they can navigate their way around devices and apps faster than the grown ups! But we hope the Day of AI will show students that they can be so much more than just enthusiastic tech users – they can, and should be, the inventors and creators of the future too.  

Participation in the Day of AI is free, and all schools need is an internet connection and laptops for students. We love the program as it’s highly engaging for students and supports teachers to deliver the materials with free teacher training workshops. 


Who’s behind the Day of AI?
 

The TDM Foundation is leading the Day of AI in Australia, alongside our incredible project partners CS in Schools, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) and Teach for Australia (TFA).  

We are also grateful and delighted that several of Australia’s most innovative businesses (including Xero, Rokt, Culture Amp, Tyro and Pet Circle) are supporting the program by offering work experience opportunities for two participating students from each state and territory.  


What will the impact be?
 

At the TDM Foundation, our mission is to help build a future-ready Australia.  Our ambition with the Day of AI is to is help young Australians grasp the opportunities of a future that is already here.  

Next time Google Maps gets you to your appointment on time or your banking app helps you to save a few dollars, don’t forget that these tech solutions began with an AI specialist who imagined what might be possible. If the Day of AI prompts even a handful of young Australians to dream big about using AI to solve some of the problems around them, then we’ll know it has worked. 

Please spread the word about the Day to those involved in secondary schools and if you’re a principal, teacher, involved with a secondary school and would like to learn more about the Day, including registering, please go to https://dayofaiaustralia.com/. We are keen to hear from you.  

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