A $5M donation to Wharton will establish a new AI for Business program - Technical.ly Philly

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May 18, 2020 2:00 pm

A $5M donation to Wharton will establish a new AI for Business program

The funding will go toward expanding course instruction in artificial intelligence, establishing a speaker series and encouraging more student engagement in clubs, events and committees.
Wharton.

Wharton.

(Photo by Flickr user Sergio Carreira, used under a Creative Commons license)

The University of Pennsylvania‘s Wharton School announced this month that it was establishing a new organization, AI for Business, within the school’s Analytics at Wharton programming.

The org was formed after two married Wharton MBA grads, Tao Zhang and Selina Chin, donated $5 million to the school with the intention of expanding the learning opportunities for artificial intelligence in the business space.

“Selina and I share experience and interest in management, tech, startups, and opportunities for leadership in global business which comes together in AI,” Zhang said in a statement. “Wharton is the ideal setting for us to enable these experiences for such talented students and renowned faculty.”

The funding will go toward expanding course instruction in AI, establishing a speaker series and encouraging more student engagement in clubs, events and committees. AI for Business will be led by faculty member Kartik Hosanagar, the John C. Hower professor of operations, information and decisions, the school said in a statement.

“The advances made possible by artificial intelligence hold the potential to vastly improve lives and business processes,” said outgoing Wharton Dean Geoff Garrett.

Hosanagar told Technical.ly that over the years, there’s been increased interested in AI for the business space, including requests for an AI club, more classes and access to industry professionals.

“The other important piece is that AI is becoming more important to business transformation efforts,” Hosanagar said in an email. “AI is bound to redefine every industry vertical. Innovative methods for data collection, content creation, and large-scale automation are opening new opportunities for business along with unseen implications for companies, consumers, and society.”

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New courses aligned with AI for Business will touch on concepts from the implications of AI on competitive strategy to its impact on society. Some current Wharton AI courses include Modern Data Mining and AI, Data and Society.

Hosanagar said that interest is growing in the field and that he sees AI affecting all career paths.

“The analogy is that we used to talk about careers in digital but we now see how digital understanding is fundamental to all jobs,” he said. “AI will be similar. Yes, there will be some engineering jobs that are AI-specific. But mostly, AI will be relevant to most business functions and industry verticals.”

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