Want to know about AI? There’s a course for that

Posted May 23, 2018 by Tim Sandle
It’s hard to avoid discussion about artificial intelligence these days and each day brings a new article about the latest application. For those wishing to no more about the emerging technology, a new course has been launched.
While artificial intelligence (AI) programmes have recently made great strides in imitating human br...
While artificial intelligence (AI) programmes have recently made great strides in imitating human brain processing -- everything from recognising objects to playing complicated board games -- spatial navigation has remained a challenge
The course comes from the Helsinki University in Finland thinks. The institution has developed the world’s first online artificial intelligence course, targeted towards beginners. In tune with the digital age, the course is distance learning, with all of the resources accessed online.
According to Engadget the course takes about 30 study hours to complete, and the aim is to inform students about what artificial intelligence is, what it can do, and also to connect the technology with key societal questions, such as ‘is artificial intelligence a force for good?’
While the advantages of artificial intelligence are well presented, ranging from improved data analytics for business and with assisting medical professionals with disease diagnosis, the implementation of the technology is altering traditional forms of employment and there are expected to be a number of job losses together with a redefinition of many traditional roles.
The future is not clear cut, as the Harvard Business review states: “By some accounts, almost half of all jobs in the U.S. economy could be made obsolete. Others have described how intelligent machines will actually create jobs — including entirely new categories of jobs.”
Not only will the course present the emerging technology from different perspectives, the university is also providing it for free. This is centered around the general acceptance of the importance of artificial intelligence and the aim to give the subject a high prominence.
Data privacy is also considered, with topics concerning things like Facebook's facial recognition and the application of machine learning by companies like Uber — which are used for city-by-city and country-by-country pricing strategies. Not every application of artificial intelligence will help to establish public trust or acceptance.
The course will also consider the role of governments and the regulatory framework within which artificial intelligence will fall. How far will humans surrender decision making to machines? For which areas are we prepared to diminish the role of human experts and let the machine decide?
As an alternative to the Heslinki University course, Futurism notes that Carnegie Mellon University has also announced an education program on the same subject. The Pennsylvania-based course is different, aiming to tap into those who wish to make a career out of artificial intelligence development and research. This is a full four year course of study, leading to a university degree.