Dr. Stephanie Elzer Schwartz

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is growing and Millersville University (MU) is prepared for the future. Statistics from the US Department of Labor show that as of 2016, there are nearly 28,000 jobs nationwide within Computer and Information research involving AI with an expected growth of 19% by 2026.

Here at MU, Dr. Stephanie Schwartz, professor of computer science, has helped lead the conversation on campus for the growing world of AI, holding the field as her main interest area since arriving on campus in 2003.

“Our students should be ready to help develop the next AI applications, harness the power of AI in their fields as appropriate, and reason about and prevent potential negative impacts of AI,” said Schwartz.

MU has options for those interested in the field. Artificial Intelligence (CSCI 450) and Data Mining (so far taught as CSCI 406, a topics course) are two courses that show the University is embracing AI in course material.

“CSCI 450 is a broader course, covering many areas of AI including intelligent search, planning, constraint satisfaction and machine learning,” explained Schwartz. “Data Mining is more focused on taking data sets and applying AI techniques to discover patterns and relationships in the data. But there are numerous disciplines on campus where AI (and, more specifically, Data Mining) is playing an increasingly important role.”

According to Schwartz, MU is also working on a new MDST option focused around Data Science.

There are countless applications for AI across fields of all varieties according to Schwartz.

“The possibilities are nearly endless. Any field that has data and wants to explore it in new ways and better understand it may have an interest in Data Mining and Data Science,” said Schwartz.

Along with every technological advancement comes positives and negatives. Schwartz thinks it’s important that all need to be better clued in on how AI is impacting the world around them.

“I’d argue more generally that everyone needs to be better educated about both the potential positive and negative impacts of AI on our society,” said Schwartz. “I don’t think it’s possible to understate the importance of preparing current and future students for the potential impacts of artificial intelligence on our industries and our society at large.”

Here in the Millersville area, a new AI learning program called AI Saturday’s (AI6) has found its way to Lancaster City. AI6 is a worldwide initiative featuring completely free study groups that go over relevant topics on AI to keep people updated on the latest advancements within the field. These groups are open to all, no matter their level of expertise.

“One of the goals of the organizers of AI6 in Lancaster is to form a community of professionals interested in Data Science and AI, and AI6 is a great vehicle for that,” said Schwartz. “I also understand that the response has been really strong, with registration levels higher than anticipated, which is great.”

According to the official Twitter account for the program, the course is featured in over 100 cities around the world which includes Lancaster. Lancaster is one of roughly 12 cities within the US that have the program. This program is free for all interested and provides the necessary materials for those who attend.

The AI6 program is open to all and meets on Saturdays. To find out more on how to register and where to meet, you can visit http://lancasterai.com/.

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