Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is hot—and if you don’t believe that, look at the six-figure salaries paid out to the experts in the field. Now comes the next big step: creating as many A.I. experts as possible.
In order to expand the pipeline of A.I.-knowledgeable graduates, many schools across the country have added A.I. and machine-learning courses to their curriculums. Now the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) plans to take things another step further, with the launch of a $1 billion college dedicated to A.I.
When the college opens in the fall of 2019, it will focus on helping students enhance their studies in another discipline with the latest A.I. techniques and tools. For example, if you’re studying biology, MIT wants you to use A.I. to radically upgrade your work in that arena. There’s also an emphasis on “responsible” use of A.I. tools.
“Computing is no longer the domain of the experts alone. It’s everywhere, and it needs to be understood and mastered by almost everyone,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif wrote in a statement accompanying the announcement. “In that context, for a host of reasons, society is uneasy about technology—and at MIT, that’s a signal we must take very seriously.”
The college will also create 50 new faculty positions, and provide a shared structure for A.I. research with the rest of MIT. A new building for the school is scheduled to open sometime in 2022. If this initiative succeeds, it will deeply bake A.I. into a host of disciplines, potentially equipping students for a future in which automation, machine learning, and other A.I. disciplines dominate various industries.
For those who want to learn A.I. now, there are lots of options. For example, Bloomberg offers a (free) online course in machine learning, aimed at pros who already have some background in machine learning (and a lot of aptitude for mathematics). Google also has a (likewise free) course with 25 lessons and more than 40 exercises, which you can finish in 15 hours or so; it features lots of video of Google engineers describing the nuances of A.I. and machine learning.
Online learning schools such as Udacity also have programs in machine learning, some of which are meant for beginners. And Microsoft is offering a Professional Program for Artificial Intelligence, with 10 online courses that teach 10 skills.
If attending MIT isn’t an option, fortunately, the resources are there already for boosting your A.I. knowledge.