New Course Aims to Help Executives Learn About AI
Learn about a new course that aims to help executives learn about AI.
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Despite the hype attached to AI, the results to date for many companies have been relatively modest. There's a strong suspicion that this hype has encouraged executive teams to do "something" with AI, but their lack of real knowledge on the topic undermines their ability to do something meaningful. So, instead, pilots are launched that allow them to claim to be doing something, but those pilots seldom migrate into the core of the business and drive lasting change.
The desire to change this has prompted a number of education programs that are designed specifically for executives. The latest of these comes from Andrew Ng, who has launched a new course, called AI for Everyone, on Coursera, the online learning platform he co-created.
"The top three questions I get from CEOs are, 'How do I build my AI team (including talent and org structure),' 'How do I decide what to do and what not to do,' and 'How do I align my company strategy with the capabilities of AI,' and so I hope this course will help executives and managers, and indeed all business people, understand the rise of AI and be able to navigate this space," Ng told me recently.
The course, which will be just three weeks long, will run along similar lines to previous Coursera courses, with video lectures interspersed with quizzes and other assignments, with discussion for allowing learners to interact with both the faculty and each other.
The course will aim to answer a number of the questions Ng believes executives are grappling with at the moment, and will broadly introduce them to AI technology and terminology; provide examples of what the technology can and can't do; explore how AI teams, and indeed organizations can be built; explore how AI impacts society and how to develop it ethically; and how to develop strategies in an AI age.
Ng believes that a considerable problem for the industry is that not only is it largely the case that only AI success stories get published, but the stories that are published often widely overextend the capabilities and progress with AI, such that it's difficult to get a grip on where the technology is that's grounded in reality rather than hyperbole.
"Much like the learning algorithm that only sees positive examples will only be able to predict positive outcomes if all you see is success after success, there are many executives who don't really understand what AI can do, and more importantly what it cannot do," Ng says. "That's why you get many automotive CEOs and announce roadmaps for autonomous cars that are totally unrealistic."
While there are other programs out there to try and give executives a grounding in AI, the fact that Ng's initial foray into teaching AI via Coursera has attracted over 2 million students from around the world not only gives him a certain kudos in the sector, but also a lot of learning on the kind of approaches that work and don't work in getting the AI message across.
The course will build upon the insights from that course, and utilize the technology provided by Coursera to try and provide learning at scale for executives around the world. This in itself might mark a shift from the case study format used in many business schools, but whilst Ng will illustrate AI principles with certain examples, the course will flow very much as traditional Coursera MOOCs flow, with video lectures being interspersed with quizzes and assignments.
Of course, one of the hottest topics for executives today is not only understanding what AI can and cannot do, but also to ensure that it is developed ethically. A recent report from the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence explored an ethical framework for developing AI. The Committee developed five principles around which they urge the development of AI to revolve:
- Artificial intelligence should be developed for the common good and benefit of humanity.
- Artificial intelligence should operate on principles of intelligibility and fairness.
- Artificial intelligence should not be used to diminish the data rights or privacy of individuals, families or communities.
- All citizens should have the right to be educated to enable them to flourish mentally, emotionally and economically alongside artificial intelligence.
- The autonomous power to hurt, destroy or deceive human beings should never be vested in artificial intelligence.
It's a message that is getting through to executives, with a recent study from Accenture revealing that some 70% of organizations who have adopted AI in some way provide ethics training for their technology teams, whilst 63% of them have an ethics committee in place to oversee their work.
"Ethics is clearly an important topic, and business leaders need to understand how to navigate it," Ng says. "We will definitely talk about the ethical issues around AI and some of the tools available to ensure, for instance, that AI systems don't produce unintentional biases."
Suffice to say, the course, which is due to launch in early 2019, currently has no track record, but given the success Ng has achieved in the technical AI course he developed, it will be fascinating to see if he can replicate that with his AI for Everyone course. You can pre-enroll for the course via the Coursera website.
Published at DZone with permission of Adi Gaskell, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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