One of the top minds in machine learning, Andrew Ng is having an increasingly profound impact on AI education. Ng’s machine learning course at Stanford University remains the most popular on Coursera, the world-leading online education platform he co-founded in 2012. After leaving Chinese Internet giant Baidu in 2017, Ng started Deeplearning.ai, a specialized deep learning education project which so far has attracted over 250,000 enrollments.
Delving deep into technical details of machine learning, Ng’s courses are aimed at students or engineers with mathematics and computer science backgrounds. The man who dubbed AI “the new electricity” realizes however that engineers’ endeavors alone will not realize the AI-driven future he envisions. The Deeplearning.ai course announced today represents Ng’s efforts to impart AI knowledge on a broader scale.
“AI for Everyone” is a beginner-level course designed to help non-technical business professionals such as CEOs, product managers, marketers, designers and financiers better understand AI and what they can do with it.
“The AI-powered future must be built by both engineers and application domain experts. We will need millions of AI engineers. We will also need millions of experts from every industry to understand how to apply AI within their organizations,” Ng wrote in his Medium blog.
AI for Everyone will be available on Coursera in early 2019 with a subscription price of US$49 per month.
The McKinsey Global Institute forecasts that some 70 percent of companies will adopt at least one form of AI by 2030, and notes that as more firms “expand AI adoption and acquire more data and AI capabilities, laggards may find it harder to catch up.”
Business leaders eager to jump on AI bandwagon should first ask themselves questions such as “What problems should I target with AI?” and “What are the limits of machine learning?” McKinsey suggests that companies which have most effectively adopted AI tend to understand where the tech can’t yet provide value, and so focus on fields where AI can make a difference — revenue, decision making, and efficiencies.
Ng has often said that merely investing in R&D on neural networks does not mean a company’s operations are AI-driven. A true AI company will also prioritize their data acquisition strategy, unified data analytics, recruitments of top AI talents, and an advanced automation system. Last year, Ng founded Landing.ai to help the manufacturing industry, which has been notoriously slow in implementing innovation, to adopt AI technologies.
No one doubts Ng’s capability to make AI more widely understandable — just 42 years old, he has already taught AI to more students than anyone else on the planet. His credentials are second-to-none: Co-founder of Google Brain, Chief Scientist at Baidu, Stanford AI Lab Director, and the list goes on.
At a time when businesses are unsure how to proceed with the tech, and public concern is mounting over its possible societal impact, the AI for Everyone course can play an important bridging role by educating interested parties from outside the scientific community.
The AI for Everyone course page is on Coursera.
Journalist: Tony Peng | Editor: Michael Sarazen