Industry News

Udacity Launches AI for Business Leaders Executive Training Program

By Henry Kronk
February 24, 2020

Udacity, an online professional training provider, announced the launch of a new executive AI program on February 21. “AI for Business Leaders” is intended to help professionals in management and leadership roles put AI to work in their businesses. Classes open on February 25.

Many businesses today employ AI technology to some degree. Many professionals at every wrung of the ladder, furthermore, might possess a basic knowledge of how AI works. 

AI for Business Leaders from Udacity

But it takes a very different skillset to zoom out and understand how intelligent bots can be used to their fullest potential in a business context. Udacity’s new executive training program aims to deliver those skills. 

“Creating an AI course for business leaders so they can speak the same language as their engineers is challenging, but working with a variety of companies to understand the practical, technical, and commercial hurdles was incredibly insightful,” said Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, in a statement. Brynjolfsson works as the director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT. He helped develop the new Udacity course. “Now, these learnings are available to all leaders who want to understand more about how to leverage AI to advance their business,” he continued.

Udacity has partnered with BMW to develop and deliver the course. The car manufacturer has worked with Udacity for two years to use its courses to train their employees. 

AI for Business Leaders is intended to involve roughly five hours of instruction and learning per week. Udacity estimates learners will need four to eight weeks to complete the course. It’s broken up into seven units: The Paradigm Shift; The Math Behind the Magic; Architectures of AI Systems; Working with Data; Accuracy, Bias, and Ethics; Gathering Feedback; and Thinking Bigger. It then culminates in a capstone project that asks learners to create their own AI business strategy.

Bringing Business Leaders Up to Speed with Innovative Technology

For learners to get the most out of the program, Udacity recommends they go in with a few prerequisite skills. These include a basic knowledge of statistics, algebra, and geometry, preferably in an academic setting.

Like other Udacity courses, learners will have access to a technical mentor, career and coaching services, and knowledge from a cast of accomplished business leaders. 

The course is currently available at a 50% discount of $799 for two-month access. Once it begins, it will be offered at full price. If it takes students longer, Udacity’s monthly access charge will kick in after two months have elapsed. 

“Udacity is unique in its approach to creating technical education with global corporate partners. This partnership with BMW is the latest, and one of the most important, given the disruptive and innovative power of AI,” said Gabe Dalporto, CEO of Udacity, in a statement. “With the launch of this Executive Program, they are helping every business leader to harness new technologies in their quest for innovation.”

New Leadership at the Company

Sebastian Thrun, Udacity’s founder and former CEO, stepped down from his role in August of last year. Thrun first developed the company as a means to make massive open online courses (MOOCs) financially viable. He launched one of the first highly successful MOOCs at Stanford in 2012.

Dalporto joined Udacity after serving as CEO of LendingTree. 

Featured Image: TechCrunch, Flickr.