Artificial intelligence may seem like something out of a science fiction movie, but it’s used in everything from ride-sharing apps to personalized online shopping suggestions. A common concern with artificial intelligence, or AI, is that it will take over jobs as more tasks become automated. Char Sample, a chief research scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory, believes this is likely, but instead of robots serving you lunch, AI may have more of an impact on cybersecurity and other white-collar jobs. “The people who are blue collar jobs that work in service industry, they’re probably not going to be as impacted by AI, but the jobs that are more repetitive in nature, like students who are graduating with cybersecurity degrees, some of their early jobs are running scans and auditing systems, those jobs could be replaced.” Sample said. This may have a disproportional effect on jobs in tech hubs, like Salt Lake City. However, as AI becomes increasingly prevalent, AI-related jobs, and the cities where these jobs are sourced, are expected to grow. If we want to expand beyond AI’s current capabilities, Sample thinks researchers need to be ambitious and think outside the box. “Yeah, I firmly believe we need an AI moonshot initiative. And right now, I’m seeing a lot of piecemeal, even though some of the pieces of the piecemeal are very big, they lack that comprehensive overview that says, let’s look at all aspects of artificial intelligence.” Sample said. Not only could a moonshot push AI forward, but it would bring in people with diverse backgrounds to improve AI. “I’m hoping that if we were able to do such a thing, as a moonshot, we could look at it across the whole spectrum of disciplines, and gain a new understanding of how this works, and we can use it to our advantage.” Sample said. Sample spoke about Artificial Intelligence at USU’s Science Unwrapped program this fall. For information on how to watch her recorded presentation, visit www.usu.edu/unwrapped/presentations/2020/smart-cookies-october-2020.