Economic development boosts our quality of life

10 March 2023

It’s hard to miss the ongoing revolution in artificial intelligence and automation that is poised to change our lives in profound ways. Chatbots like ChatGPT can mimic human conversations and write essays, DALL-E and other art generators can create one-of-a-kind images based on a just a few words, and Boston Dynamics’ latest robots race through obstacle courses and open doors.

For the generations before us, these were purely science fiction. For us, these are a tantalizing, and sometimes astonishing, reality. But beyond news headlines and social media buzz, technological advancements like these hint at the changing world around us and the industries that will revolutionize not only our economy but also our lives in the future and especially as Nevadans.

Like electricity, the microchip, the internet and other innovations that came before them, AI and automation are poised to transform the world and the communities that are able to harness their potential; communities that can identify, attract and invest in companies that are on the leading edge of technology and development; communities that can recruit and train the talent needed to support and grow with those companies; communities with the economic development infrastructure and commitment to harness and advance those efforts.

The success of economic development on those fronts means a more diversified and reinforced economy, greater quality of life for residents and a position among cutting edge industries that provide Nevadans with new and exciting careers while at the same time helping the economy innovate and grow.

The benefits of economic development can be realized with commitments to industries that don’t make as many headlines as AI or automation, from large to homegrown small businesses. And they can be just as important to innovating and strengthening the economy. The top 20 growth occupations from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sheds light on those industries that will expand the fastest in the coming decade.

Those occupation opportunities include renewable energy development and tech, with jobs such as solar photovoltaic installers, wind turbine technicians, data scientists, web developers and logisticians. They also include healthcare, where nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physical therapy assistants will be in high demand to serve an aging and longer-living population and the ability to maximize service delivery is largely dependent on innovations and investment in telehealth. These jobs and industries might not get front-page treatment, but they are just as important to expanding job opportunities and lifting the quality of life for Nevadans.

As a state and as a community, we must uphold our commitment to the coordinated economic development efforts that have brought transformational projects to the state over the past decade that are changing our society — for the betterment of Nevadans. We have a responsibility to build on that foundation and derive benefit from the opportunities that arise as more science fiction from the movies becomes the reality of our daily lives.

Tina Quigley is the president and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, a 501(c)6 public-private organization dedicated to enhancing quality of life for the Greater Vegas region by fortifying the economy through regional cooperation, global trade, and global connectivity.

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