With artificial intelligence and the prevalence of computing expanding at such a rapid rate, MIT has just announced a $1 billion commitment to research, global opportunities and problem solving in AI. The investment will mark the single largest monetary commitment to computing and AI by an American academic institution.
Thanks to a contribution of $350 million from Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder and CEO of global asset manager Blackstone, the school will open the brand new Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing.
MIT says that the new college will be an “interdisciplinary hub for work in computer science, AI, data science” and will aim to do the following:
- Reorient MIT to bring the power of computing and AI to all fields of study at MIT, allowing the future of computing and AI to be shaped by insights from all other disciplines.
- Create 50 new faculty positions that will be located both within the college and jointly with other departments across. MIT – nearly doubling MIT’s academic capability in computing and AI.
- Give MIT’s five schools a shared structure for collaborative education, research, and innovation in computing and AI.
- Educate students in every discipline to responsibly use and develop AI and computing technologies to help make a better world.
- Transform education and research in public policy and ethical considerations relevant to computing and AI.
MIT President L. Rafael Reif explains,
“As computing reshapes our world, MIT intends to help make sure it does so for the good of all. In keeping with the scope of this challenge, we are reshaping MIT. The MIT Schwarzman College of Computing will constitute both a global center for computing research and education, and an intellectual foundry for powerful new AI tools. Just as important, the College will equip students and researchers in any discipline to use computing and AI to advance their disciplines and vice-versa, as well as to think critically about the human impact of their work.”
Schwarzman, whose Blackstone investment group manages approximately $440 billion in assets, reiterates the importance of this work.
“There is no more important opportunity or challenge facing our nation than to responsibly harness the power of artificial intelligence so that we remain competitive globally and achieve breakthroughs that will improve our entire society. We face fundamental questions about how to ensure that technological advancements benefit all – especially those most vulnerable to the radical changes AI will inevitably bring to the nature of the workforce. MIT’s initiative will help America solve these challenges and continue to lead on computing and AI throughout the 21st century and beyond.”
MIT Media Lab, MIT Connection Science and related initiatives at the university have produced dedicated research in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain, and the intersections among the technologies.
The university, which is known for its collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to academics and research, offers several courses on artificial intelligence and blockchain. The university recently released a report, with partner IBM, on the role of blockchain in government, and the MIT Technology Review published its blockchain issue, with a focus on Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and ICOs, in May.
In addition to Schwarzman’s $350 million commitment, MIT has raised $300 million in support, giving them a total of $650 million toward their fundraising goal of $1 billion.