Intro to AI: A game-changer?
So the Introduction to AI class online has started. The final enrollment is somewhere over 160,000 class members. (Well, we all know that the attrition from class is terrible in the first couple of weeks.)
But, this is being touted as the biggest online teaching event ever. There are students from more than 190 countries. That’s spanning the globe for sure. A lot of university class material and lectures have been online for years now, but running a real-time class of this magnitude is, I guess, a first.
So is this a preamble to a whole new or emerging way of learning? One enthusiast has likened this event to the “butterfly-effect“ notion of chaos theory and expects a sudden revolutionary change. I don’t think I’d go that far. One of the problems of AI over the past half-century has been too much hyperbole about the imminent arrival of super-intelligent machines. These failed forecasts have caused credibility problems for the field.
One thing I hope does happen: I hope the fact that over 160,000 people worldwide are paying attention to artificial intelligence reaches the awareness of the public and of clueless politicians in the US and elsewhere. The advent of desktop computers caused a real if unheralded revolution in jobs and needed job skills over the past 30 years. AI and robotics will mean an enormous need for people who expect to enjoy a level of prosperity to get out ahead of this trend and then run like hell to maintain their marketability.