A bipartisan group of House members introduced the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Literacy Act with the goal of codifying AI literacy as a key component of digital literacy and creating opportunities to incorporate AI literacy into existing educational programs.
The legislation was introduced late last month by Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., and Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind. The legislators said that the rising popularity of artificial intelligence technologies means there needs to be a baseline understanding of AI, including an understanding of basic AI principles and applications, the skills to recognize when AI is employed, and awareness of the technology’s limits.
“It’s no secret that the use of artificial intelligence has skyrocketed over the past few years, playing a key role in the ways we learn, work, and interact with one another. Like any emerging technology, AI presents us with incredible opportunities along with unique challenges,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester.
“That’s why I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan AI Literacy Act with my colleague, Rep. Bucshon,” she said. “By ensuring that AI literacy is at the heart of our digital literacy program, we’re ensuring that we can not only mitigate the risk of AI, but seize the opportunity it creates to help improve the way we learn and the way we work.”
If enacted, the AI Literacy Act would:
- Amend the Digital Equity Act and codify AI literacy as a component of digital literacy.
- Define AI literacy as the skills associated with the ability to comprehend the basic principles, concepts, and applications of artificial intelligence, as well as the implications, limitations, and ethical considerations associated with artificial intelligence.
- Highlight the importance of AI literacy for national competitiveness, workforce preparedness, and the well-being and digital safety of Americans.
- Ensure the eligibility of efforts to increase AI literacy in public elementary and secondary schools, in community colleges, in institutions of higher education, and by community institutions like nonprofits and libraries through the Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program.
- Require annual reports to Congress.
“As we navigate the complexities of artificial intelligence in the 21st century, we must continue to increase our literacy in order to foster an informed public,” said Rep. Bucshon. “I am proud to join Rep. Blunt Rochester in the introduction of the AI Literacy Act to help Americans build a foundational knowledge of the principles and applications of artificial intelligence. America must be ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow and this legislation is a positive step in ensuring the U.S. can lead and thrive in the digital age.”
The bill’s sponsors said the measure has already received support from AI and education sector stakeholders, including AIandYou, AI4All, American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, American Association of Community Colleges, American Federation of Teachers, Black In AI, Code.org, ETS, Information Technology Industry Council, Intel, National Digital Inclusion Alliance, STEM Education Coalition, STEMx, The AI Education Project, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and University of Delaware.
“Every administrator, teacher, and student should know how to use AI and how AI works because when you understand the underlying fundamentals, you will be better able to use AI safely, effectively, and responsibly. AI Literacy will help school leaders realize the benefits of AI while mitigating the risks,” said Pat Yongpradit, chief academic officer of Code.org and lead of TeachAI.