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Artificial Intelligence Takes Center Stage During Tost.AI.da Tuesday

by Monica Smith

Jun 10, 2019, 9:00 AM.

Panel members discuss new initiatives and direction for Florida International University.

“We’re taking responsibility for our future. We’re seeing how AI and all of the other technological developments are rapidly changing how we do what we do,” stated FIU President Mark Rosenberg at a recent Tostada Tuesday event, presented by the Office of Engagement at FIU. AI will drive just about everything, but it will still need a human face, and FIU’s programs, online and in the community, are doing the work to create the AI whisperers of the future, he said.  

Despite our nation’s rapid technological pace, Rosenberg’s sentiment underscores the need for the human element in all aspects of modernity and the panel discussion at the May Tostada Tuesday event echoed his thoughts—this disruption is coming whether we like it or not.

“We have to find a way to make it work for us,” said Rosenberg.

Human Relations Still Needed

The event, normally called Tostada Tuesday, was renamed Tost.AI.da Tuesday with “AI” in the middle. Held in honor of National Inventor's Month and sponsored by Microsoft, it featured an esteemed panel of guest speakers, moderated by Andres Camo of Axxis Solutions. The panel came together to talk about the future of learning and included Susan Germer of PlayPostIt, Joseph Riquelme of FIU Online, Amy Austin Renshaw of Code/Art and Erika Twani of Learning One to One. All agreed that while AI is exciting and offers great hope, human relations abilities are still needed as technology is just a tool.

“AI doesn’t think,” said Twani, who stated that in the future, professionals will be ranked through microcredentials and blockchain technology.

Germer added to Twani’s thoughts and offered that “AI is not a replacement, it’s an enhancement.” AI is an important enhancement, however. In fact, Microsoft used the meeting to announce its investment of $75,000 toward a partnership with FIU to develop Up Labs in the community.

FIU Community Enhancement

The Up Labs technology studios, explained Lucas Hernandez, head of civic engagement for Microsoft in Miami, will help solve challenges that communities face with career pathways and will also create new models of learning that will assist learners of the future. This partnership will aid community members with capacities, skill sets and competencies so they can be ready for what’s to come.

Online Learning with AI

Riquelme expressed that online learning is helping learners become relevant and on time with graduation and it prepares them for employment. He expounded on how learners are able to gain hard skills through online programs, but they still need critical thinking skills, human relations skills and creativity as well as the ability to think innovatively—this is the challenge with AI and online learning, he said.

FIU Rises to the Challenge

Rosenberg spoke on the many programs and ways FIU is rising to the challenges of our modern future. He announced the future launch of a fully online master’s program in internet of things and spoke about FIU’s role in the community, customized learning and how the institution, through many avenues, is helping learners prepare for the changes on the horizon. Riquelme expanded on these thoughts.

“Artificial Intelligence offers us the ability to unleash the human potential and transform the learning experience for students. We can leverage technology to have a more engaging experience, to develop critical thinking skills and create content that works best for a student’s style,” said Riquelme about FIU’s online degree programs. “We are getting so much information, we can adjust the course with the data we’re getting in real time,” he said while summing up how, together, technology and AI are making online education even better.

The next Tostada Tuesday will take place July 9th, 2019, at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus and will focus on food and entrepreneurship.

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