I’ve always believed in democratizing access to the latest advances in artificial intelligence. As a step in this direction, we just launched “Generative AI for Everyone” on Coursera. The course assumes no programming or AI background, and I hope it will be useful to students, teachers, artists, scientists, engineers, leaders in business and government, and anyone else who simply wants to know how to apply generative AI in their work or personal life. Please check it out and encourage your friends to take a look, especially those with a nontechnical background.
Just as web search and word processing have become essential skills in the workplace, using generative AI soon will become a baseline skill set expected by every employer. This highly accessible, general-purpose technology is suitable for numerous tasks. It’s already used in copyediting, customer service, brainstorming, summarizing documents, and more. And many more uses are yet to be identified.
The course covers:
- How generative AI (particularly large language models, or LLMs) works, and what it can and cannot do
- A nontechnical description of advanced techniques, including RAG (retrieval augmented generation, which gives an LLM access to additional, proprietary information) and fine-tuning, and when to use these techniques
- Best practices for the use of LLMs, either via a web interface (such as ChatGPT or BARD) or by incorporating them into a larger application (such as software that calls an LLM API)
- How to identify opportunities for AI augmentation or automation by breaking down jobs into tasks and evaluating their potential for automation — I described this in a previous letter, but the course goes into greater detail and explains how this can bring cost savings and revenue growth
- Responsible AI and generative AI’s impact on jobs and society
If you’re an engineer: I designed this course to be accessible to nontechnical professionals partly to help technical people work with them more easily. With earlier waves of technology, I found that the gap in understanding between technical and nontechnical people got in the way of putting the technology to use. So if you already have a good understanding of generative AI, please encourage your nontechnical colleagues to take this course. They will learn a lot, and I hope this will help you collaborate more productively!
You can check out the course here.