AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas at Austin this week opened applications for its first-ever online master’s degree in artificial intelligence. The first of its kind in the nation, the program debuts next spring.
UT estimates there will be 97 million new AI-related jobs globally over the next two years. The university told KXAN it received roughly 10,000 inquiries about its new program.
“Organizations, companies are in dire need of people with these skills. But there aren’t enough people out there to hire,” said Eric Busch, UT’s Managing Director of Computer and Data Science Online.
Busch said the online program has been scaled to educate thousands of students at once and has been priced at about $10,000.
“[The pricing] is a game changer for a lot of folks,” Busch told KXAN.
Computer science professor Adam Klivans will lead some of the AI courses. He said students are expected to have some base knowledge in computer science, statistics, or electrical engineering.
“They’re learning sort of the mathematical tools that underlie all of these [AI] techniques,” Klivans said.
“People have realized that [AI] tools are changing the way we’re doing business, the way we’re doing science,” he added. “Master’s degree students keep telling us, ‘We need to learn these tools.'”
As for fears about the potential pitfalls of AI, both Klivans and Busch said of the 10 courses offered in the degree plan, the only one required is a course in ethics.
“We’re taking that very seriously,” Klivans said. “We have lot of case studies to show when the [AI] tools can go a little off the rails and how you can compensate to make sure that doesn’t happen.”