A slide from a July 24, 2023 PowerPoint presentation by the UNM Department of Computer Science at the state Interim Committee on Science, Technology and Telecommunications.

‘The genie is out of the bottle.’ Federal, state officials discuss impacts of AI

Separating fact from fiction has become harder in the 21st century in part due to the proliferation of artificial intelligence and its current uses. Some people use AI to scam or trick their victims into seeing something that is not real but looks real enough so as to not be immediately questioned. Recently, AI was a topic discussed at the state level, by a U.S. Senate committee and the White House. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, and other senators introduced the Creating Resources for Every American to Experiment with Artificial Intelligence Act of 2023, known as the CREATE-AI Act

“We know that AI will be enormously consequential. If we develop and deploy this technology responsibly, it can help us augment our human creativity and make major scientific advances, while also preparing American workers for the jobs of the future.

White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu speaks at a press conference at Los Vecinos Community Center in Tijeras July 7, 2023. Also pictured are Se. Martin Heinrich, Bernalillo County Deputy Fire Chief Zachary Lardy and Sen. Ben Ray Luján.

‘We’re gonna all be connected.’ Invest in America tour touts rural broadband expansion

A group of dignitaries including Sens. Ben Ray Luján and Martin Heinrich joined White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu while he toured New Mexico to promote rural broadband expansion. 

One of the places that will benefit from a recent bipartisan infrastructure law is Tijeras. Tijeras is a village in the canyon that separates the Sandia Mountains to the north and the Manzano Mountains to the south, about 10 miles east of Albuquerque on I-25. Many of the people who live in and around the village have internet access that is spotty at best, which is common across New Mexico. One way the Biden administration is seeking to help with connectivity is through Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grants such as the $49 million middle mile grant to Plateau Telecommunications to expand broadband connectivity along a 150 mile corridor in rural central New Mexico.

New Mexico getting about $7 billion from federal Investing in America push

New Mexico is expected to receive more than $7 billion for infrastructure projects that fit with President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda. These projects include infrastructure funding for various road and highway projects, making communities more resilient to climate change and clean water access statewide and private investments including those for manufacturing superconductors, producing clean energy and biomanufacturing. In New Mexico, Invest in America has dedicated $4 billion for semiconductors and electronics, $344 million for clean energy projects, $100 million for biomanufacturing, $1.3 billion for transportation investments such as roads, bridges, public transit, ports and airports, $891.3 million for provide clean water and to improve water infrastructure statewide including $57 million for lead pipe and service line replacement and $265.4 million to help “make our communities more resilient to climate change,” the website states. These projects can be viewed on invest.gov which was launched on Tuesday. The site features an interactive map noting what and where projects are located.

New Mexico could lose 37,500 jobs if gov’t defaults

If the federal government defaults on its debt for a prolonged period of time, New Mexico could lose up to 37,500 jobs, according to a new report by Moody’s Analytics released May 10. This report details two possible outcomes: should the U.S. default and then correct itself in the immediate aftermath and in the event of a prolonged default.

“We now assign a 10 percent probability to a breach,” the report states. “If there is a breach, it is much more likely to be a short one than a prolonged one. But even a lengthy standoff no longer has a zero probability. What once seemed unimaginable now seems a real threat.”

The expected deadline to prevent default is June 8 although due to the nature of economics, the date is subject to change, the report states.

Screenshot of President Joe Biden during a press conference May 9, 2023. The press conference followed a closed-door meeting between Biden and congressional leadership to address the debt ceiling impasse.

Concerns mount as debt ceiling deadline nears

President Joe Biden met with congressional leadership from both parties Tuesday to negotiate an end to the federal debt ceiling dispute. Both Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy delivered comments and took questions following the closed-session meeting. Biden called the meeting productive. The meeting was called to discuss a path beyond the current debt ceiling problems.

“America is not going to default on this debt for the first time in history. Never has, never well,” Biden said.

Santa Fe Public Schools highlighted as part of federal announcement of a ‘Back-to-School’ checklist

The U.S. Department of Education highlighted Santa Fe Public Schools on Thursday during a press call to announce the Biden-Harris Administration’s American Rescue Plan “Back-to-School” checklist. The federal law provided $130 billion to school districts and state governments to, among other things, support students’ mental health needs. Santa Fe Public Schools is using its ARP funds for mental health and wellness of both students and staff, according to a news release. The money will also be used to expand the district’s restorative justice program, hire additional school psychologists and expand school counselor programming. According to a U.S. Department of Education fact sheet, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other mental health associations declared a national state of emergency in children’s mental health in 2021.