- In a move to democratize artificial intelligence (AI), Coursera co-founder and AI expert Andrew Ng announced an "AI for Everyone" program for nontechnical business leaders, coming to the online learning platform in early 2019.
- Engineers and data scientists might handle the technical details of AI, but business leaders also need to understand application opportunities for machine learning and deep learning in their organizations, as well as what the technology can't do, Ng wrote in the announcement. The course will help nontechnical leaders build "a sustainable AI strategy" and serve as a resource for technical employees to suggest to managers to promote understanding of the technology.
- Domain experts and engineers are critical to harnessing the potential of AI. But the industry also needs millions of business leaders, managers, sales and marketing professionals, financiers and designers that can apply AI in their communities and businesses, Ng said.
The course comes a little more than a year after Ng launched an online deep learning course on Coursera with the goal of training millions of new AI experts. Hundreds of thousands of students enrolled since it launched last fall, and Ng and Coursera are working to expand the course with new materials, resources and events, Ng wrote.
AI innovation is more accessible than ever today, thanks to more open-source software and information sharing between players in the space. But the concentration of AI power has been in the hands of a few, allowing them to exert considerable control over AI talent and capabilities, Ng said, speaking at The Atlantic Festival in Washington in October.
Industries outside of technology need help with embracing the technology, and leadership is pivotal to ensure the outcomes and wealth distributions are evenly dispersed, he said.
Colleges and universities have identified the knowledge gap and are adding an AI focus to the research, instruction and other knowledge-sharing they support.
Among the biggest recent moves to support that goal is MIT's planned $1 billion investment in reframing and expanding how it teaches computing and AI. The venture, which it says is its "most significant reshaping" since 1950, includes the creation of a new computing college with an interdisciplinary focus. It is backed by a $350 million investment from Blackstone CEO and co-founder Stephen Schwarzman.
AI is also playing more of a role in the classroom and elsewhere on campus. For example, AI is helping instructors at the University of Michigan make lectures more engaging and accessible through machine learning technology. Colleges are also exploring ways to use voice-enabled assistants such as Amazon's Alexa in dorm rooms to enhance student engagement with university services.