Artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping life and livelihoods. It’s curating every screen; making or influencing decisions about hiring, loans, and jail sentences; and aggregating wealth and opportunity at a staggering pace.

AI, particularly machine learning (ML), and related exponential technologies (ET) are quickly augmenting many tasks at home and work. They will increasingly displace jobs while creating new entrepreneurial opportunities. They will swamp communities with complex issues and a combination of predictable and unanticipated consequences.

AI is not just a tech issue, it’s a social studies issue. Teaching youth to code may be part of the response, but even more important is asking them to consider issues of the changing civic and employment landscape.

“The aim of social studies is the promotion of civic competence,” says the National Council for the Social Studies. Their standards are built around 10 themes that are being shaped by AI and ET.

1. CULTURE: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity.

  • ML promotes screentime addiction which changing social interaction.
  • ML has been used to manipulate social media manipulation in an effort to change election outcomes.

2. TIME, CONTINUITY, AND CHANGE: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the past and its legacy.

  • ET means we’re living on a curve where everyone is experiencing more novelty and complexity as manmade and natural systems collide in unexpected ways.

3. PEOPLE, PLACES, AND ENVIRONMENTS: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments.

  • Lots of cameras and facial recognition software makes it possible to track people with accuracy. It’s used to issue jaywalking tickets in China.
  • Your stock trades are not as you think. In China, a social credit score increasingly shapes life options.

4. INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT AND IDENTITY: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of individual development and identity.

  • ML is quickly augmenting human capacity in every aspect of life. It will increasingly be combined with biological augmentation. How will this change human identities and interactions?
  • Advances in gene editing and DNA analysis is beginning to give parents control over the traits their children will inherit.

5. INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS, AND INSTITUTIONS: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.

  • ML is beginning to automate the middle of the job market leading to job dislocation
  • “Algorithmic bias is shaping up to be a major societal issue at a critical moment in the evolution of machine learning and AI,” said the MIT Tech Review.
  • Chinese algorithms use observed behaviors to create a credit score that defines access to credit.
  • ML is increasingly used to allocate police resources, set prison sentences, inform hiring, make loans. Algorithmic bias can disadvantage groups with little transparency.

6. POWER, AUTHORITY, AND GOVERNANCE: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create, interact with, and change structures of power, authority, and governance.

  • Some societies are mobilizing and skilling up and using framing legislation to guide the use of ML/ET. The US federal government appears particularly unwilling and unable to respond
  • Killer drones and automated warfare

7. PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION, AND CONSUMPTION: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

  • ML/ET is accelerating wealth aggregation
  • Large sections of the workforce are experiencing anxiety; wages are lagging.

8. SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETY: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of relationships among science, technology, and society.

  • ML is improving diagnosis and treatment of disease; who will gain access to lifesaving technology?
  • ML/ET cause new privacy and security concerns
  • False news is spreading online farther and faster than the truth

9. GLOBAL CONNECTIONS: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of global connections and interdependence.

  • ET will, in less than a decade, connect most of the world with mobile devices and 5G connectivity

10.CIVIC IDEALS AND PRACTICES: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.

  • ML/ET is sending waves of issues at communities (e.g., climate change, autonomous vehicles, employment dislocation, privacy) testing civic ideas and practices.

Artificial intelligence isn’t a tech issue, it’s a social studies issue. Like the Montour School District in Pittsburgh, the ethics of AI should be introduced in middle school. Educational institutions should be leading community conversations about what’s happening, what it means and how to prepare.

For more, see:

This post was originally published on Forbes.

The future of work will bring new challenges and cause us to shift how we think about jobs and employability—so what does this meaning for teaching and learning? In our exploration of the #futureofwork sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, we dive into what’s happening, what’s coming and how to prepare. For more, visit GettingSmart.com/futureofwork


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