Microsoft launches AI Business School – a free, non-technical, online course

Microsoft’s positive approach toward harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) has been accentuated multiple times in recent months. In January, Microsoft joined the SciKit-learn consortiumto help make AI accessible to all. Then, last month, the tech giant collaborated with Accenture, initiating the Microsoft Business Group to empower enterprises through Azure services.

Today, the Redmond-based firm has announced a free, online course, dubbed ‘AI Business School’. As is indicated by the name, the series will aim to empower business leaders, and educate them on how to solve business-specific problems involving AI.

Mitra Azizirad, CVP for AI Marketing at Microsoft, is responsible for the launch of this initiative, along with her team. Describing the reasons behind the need for knowledge regarding AI in business, Azizirad said:

“There is a gap between what people want to do and the reality of what is going on in their organizations today, and the reality of whether their organization is ready. Developing a strategy for AI extends beyond the business issues. It goes all the way to the leadership, behaviors and capabilities required to instill an AI-ready culture in your organization.”

The course materials include case studies, guides, and short videos of lectures that can conveniently be accessed by business executives whenever they are free. Importantly, most of the content is focused around the impact of AI in three key areas identified by Microsoft. Namely, company strategy, culture, and responsibility. However, videos providing some introductory context to AI technologies relevant to industries in current times are included as well. Unlike some of the company’s past educational AI-centric initiatives, this one is completely non-technical in nature.

Microsoft has conducted case studies on a number of companies, such as U.S.-based manufacturing services company, Jabil. These have helped provide it with further information on how various techniques described in detail in the course can be, and have been, implemented. The aforementioned case studies were created using AI Business School’s strategy module, with graduate business school INSEAD partnering with the Redmond giant to help accomplish this task.

Business culture and responsibility have also been hallmarked as two of the key areas upon which the course has been based. Azizirad especially noted the importance of openly sharing data across various departments and business functions, calling it the “foundation of AI”. Furthermore, Microsoft’s market research indicated that the deployment of AI systems in a responsible manner is considered quite a significant factor by business leaders.

You can find further information regarding Microsoft’s AI Business School – or check out the material offered by the course – here.

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