How useful was my AI short course from 2019?

In 2019 I could see that AI was a technology gaining increasing interest and relevance, and I was keen to get ahead of the hype and start learning more. At the time I was feeling like my day to day routine was getting a bit boring, and too familiar, and I wanted to make sure I had a solid grasp of what I thought would become a fundamental building block of technology for the future, and I decided to take a course on the topic of AI. Despite anticipating it’s increased importance in our day to day lives, I absolutely did not anticipate just how big AI would be just 5 years later - in 2024! Technologies like ChatGPT have become readily available to everyone, and they seem like modern day magic, and we’re still in our AI infancy of what’s to come.

Over the next few years, it seems almost inevitable just how pervasive AI will become. Looking at 2024, AI takes up a huge amount of news airtime and software roadmaps, and it shows no chance of slowing down, or the hype bubble popping anytime soon.

Despite AI being a topic that is constantly changing and evolving, I’m delighted that the course I took back in 2019 continues to be relevant today. Looking at the content and structure of this course, you can see it taught AI concepts (which have aged well), rather than AI technologies (which would have aged poorly). Let’s look at the 6 modules included in this short course.

  • Module 1: Artificial intelligence: What is all the hype about?
  • Module 2: AI’s engine room: how do machines learn?
  • Module 3: Current frontiers: deep learning and the latest trends in AI
  • Module 4: Working with intelligent machines
  • Module 5: Setting the boundaries of AI
  • Module 6: Making a business case for AI

After writing out that list of modules, I started writing out a list of learnings from this course in 2019 that I still use today, and found myself at 3 pages without slowing down. Clearly I need to break this into several blog posts.

So, let me say that this post is an acknowledgement that even though this course is 5 years old to me, the content has been incredibly useful and relevant. I would highly recommend the content of this course to anyone looking to get a solid baseline on the foundational concepts needed to then understand AI in more detail. In particular, I think that this course is an excellent introduction for business leaders into AI as well - while there is some technology included, that’s essential to really understanding AI anyway.

I will use this blog post to link to new articles that I write as a direct result of this course, which I’ll list below;

Some of the topics I hope to write about are;

  • The different types of AI model (classififers, predictors, etc).
  • Ethical implications of AI
  • Making the business case for AI
  • Open Source AI models