MIT Invests a Record $1 Billion in a College for AI

MIT makes the single largest investment in AI by a U.S. university.

Posted Oct 18, 2018

“Computing is no longer the domain of the experts alone. It’s everywhere, and it needs to be understood and mastered by almost everyone.” – L. Rafael Reif, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In October 2018, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, U.S.A., made history in by announcing a commitment of $1 billion to “address the global opportunities and challenges presented by the prevalence of computing and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) [1].”

According to MIT News, it is the single largest investment in artificial intelligence and computing by a U.S. university. The new college will be named the “MIT Schwarzman College of Computing,” in recognition of Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman, CEO, and co-founder, who donated $350 million towards the project.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, U.S.A., has a long history with artificial intelligence (AI). MIT professor emeritus and cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky (1927-2016) is widely considered among the founding fathers of artificial intelligence [2]. The establishment of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing is one of the most “significant structural change to MIT since the early 1950s.” MIT plans to maintain its thought-leadership by “enable advances along the full spectrum of research — from fundamental, curiosity-driven inquiry to research on market-ready applications, in a wide range of MIT departments, labs, centers, and initiatives.”

MIT plans to teach students how AI, data science, and machine learning can be applied across many disciplines. According to MIT President L. Rafael Reif, the new college will unite researchers in a broad range across disciplines and departments at MIT to address AI ethics.

“Technological advancements must go hand in hand with the development of ethical guidelines that anticipate the risks of such enormously powerful innovations.” - L. Rafael Reif, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT's strategic pivot is well-timed. Presently, and in the foreseeable future, artificial intelligence expertise will be in high demand as companies, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and countries are investing heavily in automation and digital transformation. AI is being implemented in companies across nearly every type of industry and function — it is in the early adopter stage of the technology life cycle. By establishing a college wholly dedicated to AI and computing now, MIT potentially stands to gain a significant advantage and economies of scale over other universities in the future.

Copyright © 2018 Cami Rosso All rights reserved.

References

1.       MIT News Office. “MIT reshapes itself to shape the future.” MIT News. October 15, 2018.

2.       MIT Media Lab. “Marvin Minsky, “father of artificial intelligence,” dies at 88.” MIT News. January 25, 2016.

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