MIT announced a new $1 billion commitment to address the global opportunities and challenges presented by the prevalence of computing and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI).

The initiative marks the single largest investment in computing and AI by an American academic institution, and will help position the United States to lead the world in preparing for the rapid evolution of computing and AI.

At the heart of this endeavour will be the new MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, made possible by a $350 million foundational gift from Schwarzman, the chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone, a leading global asset manager.

On top of Schwarzman’s gift, MIT has raised an additional $300 million in support, totaling $650 million of the $1 billion required for the College. Further fundraising is being actively pursued by MIT’s senior administration.

Headquartered in a signature new building on MIT’s campus, the new MIT Schwarzman College of Computing will be an interdisciplinary hub for work in computer science, AI, data science, and related fields. The College will:

  • reorient MIT to bring the power of computing and AI to all fields of study at MIT, allowing the future of computing and AI to be shaped by insights from all other disciplines;
  • create 50 new faculty positions that will be located both within the College and jointly with other departments across MIT — nearly doubling MIT’s academic capability in computing and AI;
  • give MIT’s five schools a shared structure for collaborative education, research, and innovation in computing and AI;
  • educate students in every discipline to responsibly use and develop AI and computing technologies to help make a better world; and
  • transform education and research in public policy and ethical considerations relevant to computing and AI.

With the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing’s founding, MIT seeks to strengthen its position as a key international player in the responsible and ethical evolution of technologies that are poised to fundamentally transform society.

“As computing reshapes our world, MIT intends to help make sure it does so for the good of all,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif.

“In keeping with the scope of this challenge, we are reshaping MIT. The MIT Schwarzman College of Computing will constitute both a global center for computing research and education, and an intellectual foundry for powerful new AI tools.”

“Just as important, the College will equip students and researchers in any discipline to use computing and AI to advance their disciplines and vice-versa, as well as to think critically about the human impact of their work.”

Stephen A. Schwarzman is chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms, with approximately $440 billion in assets under management. He is an active philanthropist with a history of supporting education, culture, and the arts, among other things.

“There is no more important opportunity or challenge facing our nation than to responsibly harness the power of artificial intelligence so that we remain competitive globally and achieve breakthroughs that will improve our entire society,” said Schwarzman.

“We face fundamental questions about how to ensure that technological advancements benefit all — especially those most vulnerable to the radical changes AI will inevitably bring to the nature of the workforce. MIT’s initiative will help America solve these challenges and continue to lead on computing and AI throughout the 21st century and beyond.”

According to Schwarzman, MIT is one of the world leaders in technological innovation, and has the right expertise and the right values to serve as the ‘true north’ of AI in pursuit of answers.

“With the ability to bring together the best minds in AI research, development, and ethics, higher education is uniquely situated to be the incubator for solving these challenges in ways the private and public sectors cannot. Our hope is that this ambitious initiative serves as a clarion call to our government that massive financial investment in AI is necessary to ensure that America has a leading voice in shaping the future of these powerful and transformative technologies.”

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