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AI Business School will now show business, government and education leaders what artificial intelligence can do for them

Microsoft has announced an updated version of its AI Business School, which shows people how to use artificial intelligence technology.  Mitra Azizirad, Corporate Vice–President of Microsoft AI, revealed three big changes to the free, online school during her keynote talk at the company’s Future Decoded event in London.  She also said companies can soon participate in AI Business School sessions at the Microsoft Store in the UK capital.   As part of the school’s overall update, the section related to responsible AI will be expanded to show how organisations can put principles into practice.

I have been overwhelmed by the feedback and engagement with AI Business School, and I am humbled and grateful for the many conversations it has enabled with customers, business leaders and even some of our competitors.”  AI Business School is the first online learning course on artificial intelligence for business leaders from a top cloud technology provider.  Lectures and videos, which can be accessed on-demand, feature insights from senior Microsoft staff including Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood, Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela and Executive Vice-President Jean-Philippe Courtois.  The course is comprised of case studies, academic lectures, practical guides, executive perspective videos and technology talks, and new content is added as AI technology evolves.

Meeting Exposes Shortcomings In Government’s AI Plans

As part of this initiative, AI.gov was launched as a way to centralize AI efforts, share AI activities, and push forward initiatives that can help spur adoption and growth of AI across government agencies and departments.

The shortage of skilled data scientists, data engineers, machine learning developers and architects of all types is putting a significant crimp on the government’s ability to achieve its AI objectives making it difficult for the government to compete with private industry in this area.

While training traditional IT talent to become machine learning experts might be a heavy lift, the AI industry is moving to give non-researchers the same sort of capabilities with data science and machine learning tools as would have been required by experts just a decade ago.

While there are other methodologies around, it is imperative for the government to select one or two such approaches, expand the knowledge of these best-practices approaches within government through training, and mandate that AI projects utilize an accepted methodology to guarantee project success.

Engagement of cross-government and academic groups such as ATARC will also help to widen adoption by increasing sharing as well as movement to standardize and otherwise motivate setting of methods that help to establish fundamental methods for doing AI right in the government.

Likewise, while the group of 175 government officials, industry vendors, and academic organizations was certainly representative of opinions and implementations across a wide range of sectors, it was missing the critical group of industry analysts, AI training and talent development organizations, and others that are more attuned to the use cases, best practices, and organizational growth approaches that were identified as key gaps at the summit.

One way to avoid this is to involve those day-to-day workers in the AI initiatives and to share success stories that show how their jobs are not at risk, but rather can grow and expand as AI projects eliminate portions of their jobs that are repetitive, dull, error-prone, or otherwise not conducive to the overall mission.

While it’s clear that the US government is focused on making AI a priority and a strategic initiative, the summit, with its limited audience and limited visibility, and also the government's significant, but limited funding, will only be able to achieve its overall objectives if it can successfully engage with the broader industry in the US.

If government can successfully tap the tens of billions of dollars available from the venture community, engage with best practices and thought leadership institutions that are also heavily engaged in industry, and share its needs beyond a small group of well-connected individuals, then the US will indeed be able to pursue and maintain its goal of being a leader in the AI ecosystem.