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BCS: helps shape industry-funded AI Masters courses

The Government has launched a nationwide programme of industry funded AI Masters courses at UK universities, as part of the AI Sector Deal unveiled in April 2018. The 200 new AI Masters places will be funded by companies, including Deepmind, QuantumBlack, Cisco and BAE Systems.

The government’s Office for AI commissioned BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT to look at possible frameworks and models for industry funded courses in machine learning and AI skills for graduates from STEM subjects.

Bill Mitchell, Head of Policy for BCS, said: “We’re delighted that through our communities we’re supporting the Office for AI to develop effective industry-funded Masters programmes in AI and machine learning, which will nurture the diverse, inclusive talent pipeline of ethical AI professionals that the UK needs.”

BCS worked in collaboration with the Institute of Coding and consulted with a wide spectrum of industry stakeholders including BT, BAE Systems, Infosys, Lloyds, Deloitte, Amazon, ARM, Nvidia, Microsoft, IBM, McKinsey Quantum Black, DeepMind, Accenture, Ocado, HSBC and Cisco.

It also surveyed its own members, especially on the importance of ethics to students, professionals and senior managers.

James Davenport, Vice President, Academy Board at BCS and Professor of Information Technology at the University of Bath, said: “AI tools, particularly in the machine learning area, have become much easier to use. But being easy to use isn’t the same thing as being used correctly and it is impossible to make IT good for society if our approach to IT is not ethical. BCS, with its long tradition of requiring ethical principles in every course it accredits, is pleased to see that ethical issues will be included in these MSCs.”

Industry-funded AI masters courses are part of a wider government programme to help thousands of graduates become highly qualified AI experts.

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