LinkedIn is starting an artificial intelligence bootcamp for its employees, providing another example of how pervasive the technology has become at big companies.
The AI Academy program will start with classes for engineers, product managers and executives, but the company hopes to expand it so every employee can gain some degree of AI expertise. The first cohort from LinkedIn engineering just started going through the program, but the company is already looking at making the AI Academy part of its onboarding process for all new employees.
There are four levels of classes, each one a deeper dive than the last. When participants are done, LinkedIn wants them to have an understanding one of the most important issues in the field: which problems AI can solve and which ones it can’t.
LinkedIn’s Head of Science and Engineering Craig Martell writes in a blog post about the program that AI is “like oxygen—it’s present in every product that we build and in every experience on our platform.” There it has common ground with parent company Microsoft. Like LinkedIn, Microsoft has infused AI into many of its major initiatives, and it offers an online training program for developers.
Pretty much every big tech company is betting on AI and shelling out millions for top talent in that area. With that gold rush comes the need for an ethical approach, something you will hear both Microsoft and LinkedIn talk about in any discussion of AI.
“AI is an incredibly powerful tool,” Martell writes. “It is of paramount importance to us that anyone trained to use AI should also be well-trained in how to wield it responsibly. To that end, ethical approaches to AI are an important part of our curriculum. We look at issues like choosing training data without bias and evaluating results against individual subgroups and not just the aggregate.”