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University at Albany Adds 27 Professors Who Specialize in AI

As the university develops new courses and degree programs in AI, new professors will teach its implications in 20 departments including epidemiology, social welfare, psychology, statistics and digital forensics.

University at Albany.jpg
University at Albany
(TNS) — The University at Albany says it is hiring 27 new professors in almost every department to teach students how artificial intelligence affects their chosen field.

The implications may be obvious in engineering and science fields, but philosophy, political science and business professors will also tackle the impact of AI. It is used in public health and education as well.

"AI increasingly touches every facet of daily life," President Havidán Rodríguez said at a press conference announcing the hires. "This will ensure every graduate has the foundation they need and is well prepared for whatever career they choose."

The state gave UAlbany $5.2 million to hire new faculty. The university hired 22 professors to fill vacancies, as well as the 27 new professors who specialize in artificial intelligence as it relates to their field of study. They will be hired before the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

"This is truly a transformational opportunity for the university," Rodríguez said. "Opportunities like this come rarely."

Not only is it rare for a public university to hire 27 new professors, he said, but it's unusual for the university to create a new focus with them.

"It's absolutely game-changing for the university," he said.

The university is following other educational institutions across the nation that are focusing on integrating AI into instruction. One New York example is at the University at Buffalo, which recently acquired a robot dog named Spot that is powered by AI and will be used at its School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

UAlbany is creating a series of new courses on AI, starting with general principles and applications and then moving on to how it affects broad areas of study, including art, humanities, social sciences and STEM. The final course will focus on AI in each specific major.

The new professors focusing in AI will be placed in 20 different departments, including epidemiology, social welfare, psychology, statistics and digital forensics.

The university is also developing new undergraduate and graduate degree programs specifically in AI. Those programs could include math and design, AI computing, educational research and ethics.

AI is "radically changing the world around us," said UlAbany Provost Carol Kim, saying that the college must prepare students "to help them understand how AI relates to them and their field."

The new hires will also help lead research in AI. The university is also building a supercomputer that has the speed and computational power to design and test new microchips, AI algorithms and machine-learning systems.

Among the most well-known points of research for AI machine-learning is in building self-driving cars. For AI to drive a car, it must correctly interpret millions of subtle inputs, ranging from how to determine the boundary of a worn-down curb to handling difficult weather conditions.

Current research focuses on a multitude of other projects, including diagnosing medical conditions, forecasting natural disasters, and building accurate face tracking technology.

©2022 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.