Amazon Alexa’s Ashwin Ram talks AI with Sebastian Thrun

Ashwin Ram and Sebastian Thrun - AI - Udacity

Artificial Intelligence by its very nature promises so much, and the potential seems so vast it staggers the imagination. Excitement in this field runs higher every day, as the ongoing process of translating the possible into the actual produces newer and more incredible innovations.

With this excitement come concerns, of course, and it is perhaps understandable that some people continue to see Artificial Intelligence as some sort of a threat—in far too many narratives, AI is cast as a replacement for humans, with robot laborers predicated to take over for human employees in the workforce. This worry fails to take into consideration two key storylines: 1) AI is an augmentative technology; it extends our abilities, it does not replace them, and 2) AI, by assuming responsibility for repetitive and mundane tasks, frees us for more creative and fulfilling activity.  

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Making A Change: How one Udacity student brightened his future with an exciting new career in technology

We’ve all had those phases when we’re not satisfied with where we are, or what we’re doing with our lives. When you’re in that situation, it’s easy to feel frustrated, and those negative feelings can have a ripple effect, impacting those around you. As hard as it can be sometimes, the solution is to make a change, pursue a new opportunity, and start on a new path. The transformation can be remarkable.

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Inside the Mind of a Recruiter

Inside the mind of a recruiter - Udacity

At Udacity, our careers team is busy every day helping students advance their careers, and we get to work with an incredibly broad group of job seekers who are diverse in location, age, experience, career goals, and more. Despite their differences however, there are certain characteristics that all job seekers share, whether they’re entering the job market for the very first time, or making a career change after 15 years in their field. For example, everyone has questions about recruiters!

This is understandable. Recruiters have an extremely significant impact on the hiring process, but most of us know very little about them. So we’re going to remedy that today, by taking you inside the mind of a recruiter!

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Support Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

Today is the Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality, and we are writing this post to encourage our community to take action in support of a free and open internet for all.

Free and open online access is critical to our mission of democratizing education. Without independent control over their own online experience, aspiring learners across the globe are at risk of losing the opportunity to empower themselves through education.

Every day, we witness our students making remarkable achievements. They are learning transformational skills. They are lifting themselves up to new opportunities. They are contributing to a better world. They are creating software for self-driving cars to make our roads safer, and our environment stronger. They are building robots that will offer mobility solutions to the physically challenged. They are developing artificial intelligence solutions that will do everything from helping doctors detect cancer more effectively, to preventing security threats.

None of this is possible without free and open access to the internet.

Lifelong learning opportunities are just one of countless vital services that a free and open internet makes possible, and that people rely on to realize their full potential in life.

If you too support keeping the internet open to all, learn more, and take action.

You’re going to love The Drawing Board, the new podcast from Udacity!

The Drawing Board - Podcast - Udacity

We are very fortunate to speak to, and connect with, so many amazing individuals over the course of our work at Udacity, and the opportunity to turn these interactions around and share them with our community in this new way is something we’ve long looked forward to. Please consider this your invitation to listen to the inaugural episode of The Drawing Board, Udacity’s new podcast!

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Independence Day

Understanding education as a declaration of independence from the absence of freedom.

Independence Day Udacity

Countries all across the globe celebrate versions of an Independence Day. These are powerful holidays, with many layers of meaning written into their origins and histories. At the center of the concept of an “independence” celebration sits a fundamental question—independence from what? It’s an exceedingly important question, as it lends foundational meaning to the very idea of independence.

Put another way, “independence” is essentially a relational term; it depends on an “other” for its definition.

Here in the United States, we set aside the 4th of July each year to commemorate declaring ourselves a new nation separate from the British Empire. India celebrates their independence from the British Empire on the 15th of August. In Brazil, the 7th of September is celebrated to mark independence from Portugal.

With each of the above examples, the “other” is clear, but this is not always the case when it comes to “Independence Day”-type holidays.

In Saudi Arabia there is a “National Day” celebrated on September 23rd each year; it commemorates the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It’s not exactly an “Independence Day” in the same way it is here in the United States, but there are certainly similarities. Saudi National Day celebrates unification of the kingdom, and unification can be understood as independence from the disunity that preceded it.

A similar holiday is celebrated in Germany on October 3rd. German Unity Day (or, The Day of German Unity) commemorates the reunification of 1990, and as such, it too is a way of celebrating independence from a preceding disunity.

Here in the United States, I am of course thinking about our Independence Day, and as a member of Udacity’s global community, I am thinking about what independence means on a personal level, and in relationship to education.

As an educator, I believe in the power of higher learning. I believe in the self-empowerment that higher learning makes possible. I believe that the act of committing to higher learning can be understood as self-determination at a personal level. I believe that higher learning represents a kind of personal declaration of independence.

Consider these words from the conclusion of The United States Declaration of Independence:

“… as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

Modulate these ideas to where they become a personal statement, and you have:

As a free and independent person, I have the full power to do the things which independent people may do.

This may sound like circular reasoning, but in fact, it’s an expression of self-empowerment.

As all across this country parades are held, flags are waved, and fireworks are set off, it is worth taking a moment to think about the personal side of independence. To remember that what independence means at the individual level is the freedom to pursue and achieve the things that the independent are free to pursue and achieve.

If embracing self-empowerment through learning is an act of independence, then it must be asked—who or what is the “other” we declare ourselves free of? Our un-empowered selves? Our less educated selves? It was George Washington Carver who said that, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” This powerful observation gives us our answer to what the “other” is then—it is the absence of freedom.

Happy Independence Day!  

Visualize Data Career Success

Tableau partners with Udacity to provide Data Visualization content for the Data Analyst Nanodegree program

Data Career Success - Tableau - Udacity

Data visualization skills are increasingly becoming significant competitive differentiators for individuals pursuing data careers, and demand for business analysts who possess these skills is increasing rapidly.

This is why we’re very pleased to announce that we’ve welcomed Tableau as a new partner for our Data Analyst Nanodegree program! Tableau is the global leader in visual analytics, and has been highlighted by Gartner as the “gold standard for intuitive interactive exploration.” According to Wanted Analytics, Tableau is one of the Top 5 skills required for analysts, and the number one data visualization tool.

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