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15 Nov

MIT Commits $1 Billion for New College of Artificial Intelligence

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As artificial Intelligence continues to affect all facets of business and people's lifestyles, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology intends to keep a leading role in new advancements. MIT announced on October 15th that they're committing $1 billion to establish a new college for the advancement of artificial intelligence.

The new school is called the Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. MIT could be considered one of the key institutions for AI research, and now they're taking a bold step toward shaping their curriculum around this cutting-edge science. MIT administrators said that this new project is the largest undertaking the school has done since the early 1950s when it expanded its educational offerings into the humanities, social sciences and management.

The project was made possible by a donation of $350 million from Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman and CEO of Blackstone, a major global investment firm. Blackstone is one of the largest financial firms in the world, handling over $440 billion in investment assets.

The new computing college will have a major impact on all departments of MIT. The school will have its own Dean and 50 new faculty members will be hired. Twenty-five teachers will be hired to teach computer science at the new school and another twenty-five will be hired for collaborative courses between Schwarzman College and other departments throughout the institute.

Ethical considerations

Along with the efforts to remain at the forefront of artificial intelligence research, administrators at MIT are taking a strong ethical stance to take responsibility for whatever new and potentially dangerous advancements could develop.  MIT administrators are aware of the threat that intelligent machines pose if they end up in the wrong hands, and also if machines become more intelligent than humans.

Rafael Reif, the president of MIT, explained the impetus for establishing the new school, noting how AI has been reshaping the world. The goal of integrating these departments is to teach students how to understand and leverage artificial intelligence in many career tracks other than computer programming. As the world advances further into the 21st Century, the world is already seeing rapid advancements in machine learning and AI. These changes are already transforming business operations and market trends.

About the sponsor

Stephen A Schwarzman has engaged in other large philanthropic projects for the advancement of education and also to enrich the world through arts and culture. He gave $150 million to establish the Schwarzman Center at Yale University two years ago, and he established a substantial scholarship program in China in 2013.

Schwarzman gave a statement after the new College of Computing was announced that he hopes it will encourage the U.S. Government to get involved in AI research. With MIT committing $1 billion to stay at the forefront of AI, it might encourage the government to make similar commitments so that the United States can take a leadership role in the advancements that are soon to come.

MIT-IBM collaboration

The new project has also caught the attention of technology company IBM. Their Watson AI lab, which has been collaborating with MIT, should see a gain in momentum as a result of the increased resources that are being devoted to AI research for the Schwarzman College.

Ginny Rometty, chairman of IBM, stated that the new school should engender a significant move toward further collaboration between MIT and IBM. The Watson project gained worldwide attention when it defeated two defending champions on the TV game show Jeopardy! In 2011.

MIT has already raised $300 million of the $1 billion needed to complete this major undertaking. With the $350 million already donated by Schwarzman, the administration will need to raise another $350 million to complete the project.  The new college is scheduled to open in September 2019, and the school's building should be completed by 2022.

If you're curious about the transformative effects of AI or you would like to learn about our software integration services, contact us our team today.


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