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Kellogg School Just Launched An Artificial Intelligence MBA Program — Here's Why

Business students must prepare for a human-robot future

Fri Nov 11 2016

Artificial intelligence and robotics are poised to transform business by fundamentally changing the way work is done.

The rise of smart machines — and their potentially catastrophic impact on jobs — also raises big ethical issues that get to the heart of humanity.

That means future business leaders must prepare for a world in which robots and humans co-exist.

The Kellogg School of Management is the latest business school to recognize this critical fact.

Human and Machine Intelligence, its new course, delves into AI's applications for modern business leaders.

Using sophisticated programs like IBM’s Deep Blue and Google’s AlphaGo, the course will develop students’ data science skills and teach them to apply “human and machine thought partnerships” to grow businesses.

While the ability of machines to take on more challenging cognitive tasks, analyse data and make complex decisions is growing, so-called soft skills, such as negotiation, are unlikely to be performed best by robots.

“While there are many examples of machines outperforming humans at some tasks, it’s less clear when machines can augment human decision making and creativity,” said Adam Pah, Kellogg assistant professor of management and organizations.

“We will focus on how students can leverage machine intelligence” and the potential for machine learning to enhance their output and performance beyond a human or machine alone.

Kellogg’s move thrusts it into a small group of elite business schools that have launched standalone programs focused exclusively on AI and robotics.

MIT Sloan School of Management and INSEAD run such programs. Others, such as NYU Stern School of Business, Harvard Business School and London Business School explore AI within broader courses that also encompass data analytics and coding.

Business schools have been criticized for not innovating quickly enough their MBA programs, which have been around for more than a century.

“With increasingly complex problems facing our rapidly changing business environment, curriculum innovation in the MBA program is key,” said Kellogg senior associate dean Therese McGuire.

“As we train the future business leaders of the world, it’s critical to create new courses that foster innovation and take our students to the forefront of knowledge.”

The AI program at Kellogg is one of 11 new courses on topics ranging from managing start-ups to the business of social impact.