Artificial Intelligence has hit fever pitch in China. From cutting-edge tech powerhouses to established large corporations, everyone is setting up new AI Labs, hiring new talent, and announcing new platforms. “AI First” is the order of the day in China, and the excitement around this transformational technology is incredible. Udacity is thrilled to be playing a key role, through important partnerships with companies such as Tencent, Didi Chuxing, and Alibaba.
IBM Watson has captured our collective imagination to a degree that very few technologies ever achieve. Even to refer to it as a “technology” seems limiting, considering its larger-than-life persona. From that fabled moment in 2011 when IBM Watson won Jeopardy’s first place prize—besting legendary former champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings—its place in our cultural history was assured. But behind all the media notoriety lies a system of staggering power and complexity, with the potential to impact our future in ways we’re only just beginning to imagine.
In light of all this, it’s difficult at first to conceive that anyone could actually teach people about IBM Watson. But that’s exactly what Armen Pischdotchian does for a living. By title, he is an “Academic Tech Mentor at IBM Watson.” Translation: Armen Pischdotchian knows a LOT about IBM Watson.
Which is why we’re so excited for our Artificial Intelligence students, because Armen Pischdotchian is now a contributing expert for Udacity’s Artificial Intelligence Nanodegree program!
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.
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to dramatically reshape our world in ways we’re only just beginning to imagine. More so than perhaps any other technology, AI stands to become the transformative force of the future.
Talent, community, and investment
Understandably, some of the brightest minds in the world are already working in the field, and every day more innovators, risk-takers, and forward-thinkers arrive to join their ranks. In many respects it’s a simple equation—incredible new technologies attract incredible new talent.
Udacity is very excited to announce a new competition, and a new partnership!
We are proud to be the exclusive education partner—with e-commerce giant Alibaba—for a new challenge hosted by Alibaba and IJCAI2017, a top conference in AI space, and the main international gathering of researchers in the field.
This post begins with a request—if you would, please assume for the sake of argument that your current job is going to be automated away in the not-too-distant future by some version of artificial intelligence. Then, please also assume that you’re still going to have a good job.
If the pro-AI side is correct, the preceding scenario will mean having a great deal more time available for putting your mental and emotional energy towards vastly more productive and creative things than you might otherwise be stuck doing. For example, instead of wasting four hours of time driving your car in commuter traffic because you live in an area with no viable public transportation, you could be sitting in a self-driving car writing, coding, talking, thinking, dreaming, inventing, what have you.
Now that we’re preparing to close the inaugural round of applications for our new Artificial Intelligence Nanodegree program, we are quietly but excitedly settling down to the work of rolling out this incredible curriculum for our incoming students. In this post, we’re going to look at the origin story of this program’s curriculum. The first step in preparing a comprehensive AI program is to understand the relevance and trajectory of the field itself.
AI Today, AI Tomorrow
One thing is unequivocally clear: There has never been a better time to study Artificial Intelligence. Demand for smarter solutions to problems big and small—combined with increasing access to high performance computing and an abundance of rich data sources—means AI is poised to seismically impact the world of computing for the better.