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Predictive Progress

June 25, 2024 Erica Hulse
A woman standing in front of a blue background with a series of digital numbers and thumbnails of photos partially covering her face.

Ginny Rometty, former CEO of IBM, once noted that “some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.” With a similar vision, the College of Business aims to ensure students are provided multiple opportunities to work with cutting-edge technological advancements provided by the creation and usage of generative artificial intelligence (AI). Providing courses geared toward teaching learners how to use large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, undergraduate classes such as MKT 203 – AI in the Marketplace and MBA graduate elective options, Business Applications of AI and Managing in the Future, are teaching students how to use AI to enhance the quality and efficiency of work that is unique to them. In some cases, these course offerings also provide a challenging environment in which learners must consider AI on a greater scale, particularly how the rapid advancement of machine learning is changing the landscape of business industries and how their professional roles may fit into this uncharted technological future.

Deep Learning

Well-known amongst his colleagues and leaders in the field of business as a futurist, driven by his passion for technological advances, Assistant Dean for Thought Leadership and Civic Engagement Nat Irvin, PhD, challenges his students to consider ways in which they believe technology may continue to impact the business world. In each course, Irvin encourages his MBA students to think outside the box about how they can best utilize generative AI as business leaders – not just today but well into the future. His popular MBA elective, Managing in the Future, requires student groups to develop proposals outlining how AI could have been integrated and revolutionized the creation and early development of the Aravind Eye Care System. Irvin noted, “I teach the history of epidemiology as part of [this course]…because disease helps you to understand systems, how human beings respond in the face of uncertainty.”

While Irvin may encourage his students to work together to tackle large-scale humanistic issues, other graduate courses in the College, such as the newly launched elective Business Applications of AI, taught by Professor Daniel Johnsen, challenge students with independent, technology-driven learning opportunities. Taking his graduate-level educational experiences with AI to the social media platform LinkedIn, MBA student Wencesalo Saenz Juarez shared the story of his academic project on the popular platform. “As a relationship banker, I help clients with their finances every day (budgeting, financial goals, etc.). I believe there is so much potential for the use of AI tools with these needs. I will be exploring some of these tools this week. Follow this seven-day journey.” Saenz Juarez, along with many other students, posted on LinkedIn each day throughout the project, noting the various ways in which they were using LLMs to help with their projects that were unique to their interests and goals. For Saenz Juarez, it was personal finances. Johnsen noted that the project aimed for students to be able to “apply their AI knowledge and experience with tools to solve a personal or business challenge.”

Algorithmic Assistance

Other College faculty teaching courses that use generative AI as teaching tools, such as the law and economics and statistics courses taught by Jose Fernandez, PhD, place cutting-edge technology in the hands of students who aren’t necessarily earning a degree in a STEM field. Recently featured in a UofL News article, The Brave New World of ChatGPT, Fernandez shared insights on using AI in some of his courses. While not explicitly geared toward learning to use LLMs, Fernandez finds new and innovative ways to help his students gain exposure to this growing technology while learning essential business skills such as economics. Generative AI also allows faculty members like Fernandez to guide their students when they are not available. “Using AI to act like a TA [teaching assistant]. I uploaded my syllabus and my notes,” shared Fernandez. “The AI was then able to tell students when items were due, [and] what would be covered on each assignment, as well as some basic factual questions about the material. This option was very useful to students during off-hours when I wasn’t available.”

Future Framework

On the College’s technological horizon, programmatic offerings such as the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) with a concentration in AI, launching in fall 2024, will provide graduate students focused on data analytics the opportunity to learn valuable skills related to machine learning, and how to best utilize their MSBA degree in the rapidly-evolving world of generative AI technology.

Additionally, the newest Executive Education offering, AI Essentials for Executives, provides students at all stages of their academic and professional journeys the opportunity to engage with generative AI in the classroom. In this way, students are not just exposed to AI but are comfortable working with machine learning, which has become, in many industries, an everyday professional tool.

Are you fascinated by machine learning and considering earning a graduate degree in data analytics? Discover how our MSBA with a concentration in AI can prepare you not just to keep up with the technology of today but to emerge a leader amidst the transformative, data-driven world of tomorrow.

About the UofL College of Business:

Founded in 1953, the UofL College of Business fosters intellectual and economic vitality in our city, region, and the global business landscape. Our academic programs, research, community outreach initiatives, and commitment to student success inspire lives and businesses to flourish through entrepreneurship, innovation, critical thinking, diversity, and the power of people.

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