AI is the Future of Rural

AI is the Future of Rural

AI maintains our standard of living in the face of declining and aging populations. We need to embrace AI to maintain our dynamism. The true safety concern is not AI gone rogue, it's AI gone missing.

There's nowhere better to understand the importance of AI than North Dakota.

There is a shortage of workers in rural communities. Few people are looking to move in to work at health centers, call centers, service centers, and more.

AI is essential for the future of rural communities and beyond.

AI Improves Our Standard of Living

Globally, most communities are shrinking.

Gulf states with tiny populations are investing heavily in AI to compete against larger workforces. The population of most Western European countries is now falling, as is China. A frantic search has begun in earnest to attract workers to these countries. Smaller states and communities are similarly trying to lure people to move in. That won't be enough. We need AI.

AI gets more done with fewer people.

We don't want to live a lower quality of life. We need technology and productivity to maintain and improve the current standard of living. AI unlocks exponential productivity.

Investments in North Dakota Point the Way

It's easy to imagine a world where doctors aren't present in a local hospital but can use AI to create clinic plans and conduct surgeries—or, even more simply, to fill the roles of office assistants and managers. These jobs are not going away, but there are not enough people to do them. We need to worry less about losing jobs and more about filling the roles needed in a community. We need to replace Help Wanted signs with help-providing technology.

North Dakota is a canary in the coal mine, and the state already recognizes the need to invest in this future.

The Automate ND grant program helps businesses invest in automation. This is an investment in AI, machinery, and automation processes because the state doesn't have enough workers. Similarly, the Technical Skills Training Grant trains and transitions the existing workforce to a more technical future. More states and countries can, and should, deepen their investments in automation and AI as labor is scarce and the potential of technology is high.

Opportunity Cost is Scarier Than the Terminator

Current discussions on AI often devolve into fear-mongering. On the extreme, people fear artificial general intelligence or AGI. This is when computers become so smart that they take over the world and decide they don't need humans.

This sci-fi future is much less scary than the one we are currently facing. Our population is slowing and expected to fall, and if we want to maintain our quality of life, we need AI.

Our fear should not be Terminator, it should be throttled growth. The scary scenario is a future where we don't leverage AI and can't maintain a continual improvement in the way we live.

A World Without AI is Worse Off

Small towns in rural North Dakota show the importance of empowering local populations to do more with few people. The choice is clear. We can embrace new ways to provide vital services to our community members, maintaining our dynamism. Or, we can eschew new technology, leading to stagnation.

A world without AI is not a world I want to live in. Let's balance fear with the loss of opportunity. The opportunity in front of us is to continue growing. We can make places like North Dakota viable for a high quality of life, even with few residents.

AI will help us do that.

Our AI Opportunity

North Dakota has already invested in this future, showing where the world is headed.

We need to balance opportunity costs with safety concerns. The opportunity cost of not aggressively pursuing AI is higher than the safety concerns.

We stand on the cusp of a productivity leap that can affect every corner of the globe, regardless of its population density and technical skill. Let's make sure we jump.