Join NDIA and partners around the country on April 19 to share and learn more about AI. National AI Literacy Day promotes safe learning and exploration with AI for all on this nationwide day of action. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about what AI is and how it works, and to raise awareness with others in your community. Participate in an event promoting AI literacy, contribute an event or materials to the community effort, or take time to reflect on how AI literacy will fit into your work in digital equity – check out the resources listed below.

What does AI literacy have to do with digital inclusion and equity?

AI isn’t just for software engineers and computer scientists! Having a basic understanding of how AI works and an awareness of when we’ve encountered AI are critical knowledge for new and experienced internet users. AI is already part of essential digital tools, like search engines and productivity software, and it will only become more pervasive in the future. In the digital equity field, it’s important to us that AI doesn’t further exacerbate the digital divide and that all people are able to use technology in the ways they want to support their lives and livelihoods. 

Knowing about the limitations of AI and how to identify incorrect and potentially biased output of generative AI is essential for responsible, productive technology use. This is an important moment to update and expand digital skills training about using the internet safely and safeguarding individual privacy to cover new risks and recommended practices for using AI.  

Increasing AI literacy for users of all ages means that more people will be able to harness the benefits of using AI and join the conversation about fairness, accountability, and transparency. Look for NDIA to provide spaces for more discussion about how our field can work with AI.


What is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a collection of technologies and techniques that imitate and expand on ways that humans process information. Technologies like voice recognition, text processing, and image processing mimic how we hear, read, speak, and see. When we talk to a digital assistant or ask a chatbot for help completing a task online, we’re interacting with AI. Machine learning, a rapidly advancing subfield of AI, involves training computers with data to identify patterns and make predictions. When a word processor suggests the next word we should write in a sentence, it’s drawing on what it has “learned” about grammar and vocabulary from training data to predict what word is most likely to follow the words we’ve already written. 


What about ChatGPT and generative AI tools that I’ve been hearing about?

Generative AI refers to AI technologies that generate new writing, images, videos, code, and more. ChatGPT and many other generative AI tools like Google’s Gemini, Dall-E or Sora (image and video generators) allow us to interact with AI by writing requests, called “prompts,” in plain English. Generative AI tools process prompts and then produce responses that are likely to make sense or be good solutions to prompts, based on vast amounts of data that were used to train the tools’ underlying models. These models have “learned” by processing massive amounts of text, including books, transcripts of YouTube videos, Wikipedia articles, and other content from the web, which is why their output resembles how a human might write a response. 

Image and video generating tools produce responses in those formats rather than in words, but they use similar techniques. These tools take the terms from a natural language prompt and produce images or videos that should correspond to those terms, based on images and videos they were trained on. 


Want to learn more?

NDIA has already started to think about how our work relates to AI and we recommend these resources: