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Today, Jon Cagan presented at the AI and National STEM Workforce Development Needs congressional briefing organized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Senate AI Caucus.

Conversation at the event was focused on opportunities and challenges with regard to AI and machine learning in the workforce, including technology development, upskill training, and education. The session discussed the importance of AI tools for workforce development and resources to advance U.S. competitiveness in AI-enabled technology applications across industries. 

Cagan, professor and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, talked specifically about AI-human collaboration and the impact AI has on team dynamics.

“AI can be a tool, a partner, and a guide for engineering teams,” he explained. “For example, we’ve found that AI-guided teams substantially improve their problem-solving process, resulting in significantly better outcomes. They enable people to think and act more strategically. At the same time, AI has limitations, and engineers need to understand what AI is, how it works, and when it works well."

AI is already having an impact in engineering practice and is here to stay.

Jon Cagan, Department Head, Mechanical Engineering

Cagan underscored that resources need to be allocated to both upskilling engineers and R&D in AI engineering. He noted the importance of AI-centric engineering degree and certificate programs like those newly offered by the College of Engineering.

“AI is already having an impact in engineering practice and is here to stay.”

Cagan was joined by representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, Purdue University, and IBM.