Ed Felten is highly in demand these days. His title is a mouthful but explains why the Obama administration sought out his services in 2015: he is the Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Prince­ton and also the director for the Center for Information Technology Policy and Program in Technology and Society, Information Technology Track.

Felten’s field of expertise covers everything from drones to artificial intelligence to computer security, all of which are crucial to the economy and society.

Felten will recount his 20-month stint as a technology advisor to President Obama at the Princeton Chamber luncheon on Thursday, October 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Princeton Marriott. Tickets are $50, $75 for non-members. For more information, visit www.princetonchamber.org.

Now a foundation has recruited Felten to think of ways to re-train America’s workforce for the labor market of the 21st century. Felten, together with fellow Princeton professor Alan Krueger, will serve on a new task force formed by the Markle Foundation. The Rework America Task Force brings together a coalition of leaders with diverse backgrounds and experience. The goal is to develop policy on how to fix what the foundation believes is America’s broken labor market.

Across the country, 6 million-plus jobs are unfilled because employers cannot find skilled workers, yet millions of Americans with in-demand skills, or job seekers who are capable of obtaining those skills, are unemployed or underemployed. Rework America seeks comprehensive reform toward a skills-based labor market, which includes training workers over the course of their lives in the skills that employers need.

“Artificial intelligence and automation have tremendous potential to increase prosperity, save lives, and address social problems. At the same time, they will change the workplace and demand new skills and practices from workers,” Felten said. “Rework America aims to map out a better future for workers, so that automation can benefit everyone.”

Rework America will also highlight successful training programs and deploy new training experiments to create practical solutions that will transform America’s labor market from one based largely on traditional credentials, such as degrees and work history, to one rooted in the skills valued in the digital economy.

At Princeton Felten studies the intersection of public policy and information technology. His specific topics include software security, internet security, electronic voting, cybersecurity policy, technology for government transparency, and network neutrality. He served as deputy U.S. chief technology officer at the White House from May, 2015, to January, 2017. He previously served as chief technologist at the Federal Trade Commission from 2011 to 2012. (U.S. 1, August 9, 2017)

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