Dawson College adds artificial intelligence to educational curriculum

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Dawson College has unveiled its plans to help students build their future careers in technology. The school previewed a project on Tuesday that will make Artificial Intelligence part of the curriculum. Global's Shakti Langlois-Ortega reports – Jun 4, 2019

Dawson College announced a new project that will allow any of their students to learn about artificial intelligence at some point during their academic career, regardless of their field of study.

“One of the things we really want is for kids to develop literacy — digital literacy. So, we want them to be comfortable with these tools, and eventually, we want them to produce these tools,” said Réjean Roy, deputy director and chief of partnerships at the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and digital technology (OIISIAN).

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The project takes many shapes; students will be able to participate in courses, programs, conferences and extra curricular activities.

The comprehensive project will evolve over three years, but Dawson students will be able to take advantage of it as early as next semester.

Jaya Nilakantan, who is a faculty member of the department of computer science at Dawson College, wants students to grasp the various ways that digital technologies impact society.

READ MORE: Canada lacks laws to tackle problems posed by artificial intelligence: Experts

“It’s understanding how the technology works, what’s its power, what can it do, what can’t it do, and what’s the best way that we can make sure that we are using it appropriately,” Nilakantan said.

With this program, Dawson officials want to make sure students are aware of both the positive and negative impacts of new technologies, and prepare them for the future.

“They’re going to be our policy makers, they’re going to be the ones heading up companies,” Nilakantan said. “We’ve got these really brilliant students in here, they just need to be aware of how to think critically about what’s coming up.”

READ MORE: How Canadian AI is kick-starting new discoveries in health and science

Industry leaders stress that implementing AI in the education system is more than necessary to have well-rounded students.

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“Digital technologies are everywhere,” said Roy. “They really impact the way we teach, they really change the things that we can do in the classroom.”

Dawson College is one of the nine collegiate partners of the OIISIAN, which will allow some students to participate in joint research projects.  

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