MIT has taken an ambitious step in preparing students to deal with and harness the powerful tools of AI by creating a college backed by an investment of no less than $1 billion.
The college will not focus on just training and honing AI skills but the students that study biology, chemistry, physics, politics, history and even linguistics will also learn how to apply machine learning to their disciplines of choice.
MIT hopes that the college will sway from traditional academic thinking and practice and ‘rewire’ the way faculty is promoted and hired.
“We’re excited by the possibilities. That’s how the humanities are going to survive, not by running from the future but by embracing it.”
– Melissa Nobles, Dean of MIT’s School Of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Already two-thirds of the $1 billion needed has been raised so far, with $350 million in from private equity firm Blackstone, owned by CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman, which the college will also be named after. Schwarzman is one of the forces behind the project as well. He and MIT president Mr. Reif met in 2015 while Schwarzman was setting up the Schwarzman Scholars Program.
Back then, Schwarzman was becoming increasingly more interested in the opportunities and challenges offered by artificial intelligence. Over the next few years, the two men discussed the trajectory and the impact of artificial intelligence and, as the years passed, the two made the decision to invest in the future of an AI college.
The new college will have 50 new faculty positions, half of them focusing on computer science while the others will be appointed by the college and the other MIT departments.
The opening is set for September 2019, with the new college building to be completed in 2022.