Microsoft announced two AI training programs as part of its Future Decoded event in London. One, named Microsoft AI Academy, will feature online and face-to-face elements to teach IT professionals, developers, and startups.

The other involves a collaboration with the UK’s Cambridge University. Funded by Microsoft, the Cambridge University Machine Learning Initiative looks to empower upcoming data scientists with the relevant knowledge.

However, the ultimate hope is to stop so many scientists moving into the private sector. Companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are poaching AI experts left, right, and center, leaving concerns for the academic world.

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“This is something that concerns us, because it’s those top academic professors and researchers who are responsible not just for doing research, but also for nurturing the next generation of talent in this field,” said Professor Chris Bishop, director of Microsoft’s Research Lab in Cambridge.

A Fabled History

The program will include Ph.D. scholarships, internships, and consultancy positions. Though Silicon Valley and Montreal get a lot of the limelight when it comes to AI, it actually has its origins in England. The first AI research workshop was founded at Dartmouth College in 1956 and gave Artificial Intelligence its name.

Naturally, Alan Turing was also a big name in the field of AI research, developing the Turing test. Though in modern days the UK doesn’t quite stack up to the giants, the country is investing over $1.3 billion to change that.

Following the announcement, the government announced a further $64 million to aid Turing AI Fellowships to the UK. It will also increase its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to $1.41 billion.

As well as training professionals in other countries, the Microsoft AI Academy will be used internally. The move should ensure content remains relevant and useful. The investments in the UK also make good on Satya Nadella’s promise that the Brexit decision won’t affect its presence there.

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