Cybersecurity Policy

Florida lawmakers should help pave the way for the AI era. Universities can help | Opinion

Photo sourced from the Miami Herald: Artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping the world, and that includes Florida. DA-KUK Getty Images

The age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not just upon us; it’s accelerating faster than any train in history, and there is no going back. AI is reshaping the world. Its adoption and integration are bringing transformative possibilities to every aspect of life.

This year, the Florida Legislature is evaluating important AI-related bills, and Miami-Dade will release its comprehensive report on AI in the coming months. It’s a good start, but more will be needed.

Florida will need legislation that guides the use of AI in administering public services, addresses the profound AI-driven economic changes coming over the next decade, and establishes essential ethical and security standards for AI adoption.

The public sector stands to benefit significantly from AI, offering state and local governments a path to enhanced efficiency, accuracy and service accessibility. AI could significantly reduce administrative burdens, improve decision-making and provide personalized service delivery for citizens. AI can streamline the processing of public records, provide predictive analysis to help urban planners and improve provisions for public health, among others.

However, such technological advancements must be accompanied by policies that promote and guide secure, inclusive and ethical implementation. Policymakers must strike a balance between encouraging innovation and ensuring responsibility and accountability in AI adoption.

Over the next decade, Florida’s economy and workforce will undergo significant changes due to AI. Existing industries will be transformed, and new industries will emerge. McKinsey Global predicts 12 million job transitions in the nation by 2030 due to AI and digitization.

Although worker displacement is a concern, machine-human interaction in the workplace is more complex. In certain scenarios, AI may replace human roles; in others, it might shape human behavior. AI can serve as a collaborative partner, reducing costs and enhancing the quality of work outputs.

Florida needs policies that help prepare the workforce for these changes. This includes investing in education and workforce development that enhances AI literacy and digital skills.

By enhancing STEM education, offering vocational training and partnering with universities and tech companies for hands-on learning, Florida can support sectors and workers vulnerable to automation and develop a skilled workforce ready for the AI era.

Successful integration in Florida could boost the state’s economy by an estimated $22 billion in 2030, tapping into the expected global $1.3 trillion economic increase.

Ethical considerations and regulatory frameworks are crucial in the age of AI. Florida needs legislation that addresses ethical challenges, including privacy concerns, data security, misinformation, and algorithmic and computational biases.

Legislation should focus on promoting transparency, accountability, and fairness in AI development and implementation.

This includes setting standards for data collection and use, ensuring AI systems are auditable and explainable, and implementing measures to prevent discriminatory practices.

By setting these standards, Florida can lead the way in responsible AI usage, fostering public trust in technology and preventing potential harm. This approach will not only benefit citizens but also attract ethical and responsible tech companies to the state.

Florida has the potential to be a global leader in AI innovation. The state’s diverse population, innovative and growing private sector, and incredible network of universities like Florida International University, University of South Florida and University of Florida, and others, provide a strong foundation for AI development.

Policymakers should encourage collaboration between academia, industry and government. Initiatives could include funding research, establishing innovation hubs and creating incubators that support startups.

These efforts will help spur economic growth while creating high-tech jobs. Florida is at the dawn of an AI-driven era.

Embracing this technological shift with foresight, ethical governance and a focus on education and workforce development will help establish Florida as a global leader in AI innovation.

By: Brian Fonseca and Ernie Ferraresso

As originally published in the Miami Herald.