Artificial Intelligence, or ‘AI’ is a popular topic in MOOC offerings. Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun’s first MOOC was on Artificial Intelligence. Andrew Ng, Coursera co-founder, taught Machine Learning, a key discipline in AI, for his first MOOC. And there is the well-regarded edX course, CS188.1x Artificial Intelligence, from UC Berkeley. These are all great courses, but they are geared for practitioners, for those who want to learn how to develop the algorithms and run the programs.
But there are few MOOCs that cover AI at a conceptual level, to help non-technical people understand the various technologies underlying AI, and then talking about business applications. And indeed, this seems to be more and more important for those in business, as well as the general public, in order to understand the explosion of possibilities presented by applying AI to business and life. Such a MOOC is now available, and it starts this week: Cognitive Technologies: The real opportunities for business, taught by David Schatsky of Deloitte University Press.
The fact that Deloitte, one of the largest professional services firms in the world, is thinking heavily about the implications of AI, means that many large, well-resourced companies are thinking about it. David Schatsky, in an email, also added that there is a “rising interest in AI via the billions of dollars of venture capital funding that have flowed into the space in recent years.”
It can be an exercise in creative thinking (or bad science fiction writing) to speculate on how AI might affect our lives in the future, in drastic ways. However, David warns us that “people should not lose sight of the fact that AI is not only about the future. It is happening now.” Thus, the impetus to learn about AI is not just for those with the luxury to plan for the long-term future, but also to understand our world today. “Everyone should invest in understanding what is happening today in AI,” says David.
Everyone should invest in understanding what is happening today in AI
David has compiled a list of examples of some of these current applications, which includes the following:
In banking, automated fraud detection systems use machine learning to identify behavior patterns that could indicate fraudulent payment activity, speech recognition technology to automate customer service telephone interactions, and voice recognition technology to verify the identity of callers.
In health care, automatic speech recognition for transcribing notes dictated by physicians is used in around half of US hospitals, and its use is growing rapidly.
Computer vision systems automate the analysis of mammograms and other medical images.
In media and entertainment, a number of companies are using data analytics and natural language generation technology to automatically draft articles and other narrative material about data-focused topics such as corporate earnings or sports game summaries.
Retailers use machine learning to automatically discover attractive cross-sell offers and effective promotions.
Given the wide variety of applications and industries involved, it is clear that many more applications will be developed (if they haven’t been already). So get educated. If you are interested in learning more about current and future business applications of AI, you can sign up for Cognitive Technologies: The real opportunities for business, which starts October 19.