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Exploring Contemporary Artificial Intelligence

Class Sessions

Date Delivery Method Cost
  • Wed Oct 4, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Wed Oct 11, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Live Online - 2 sessions $450

Class Code


Class Description

Most Technology Training classes will be delivered online until further notice.

Before each sesson, Tech Training will provide a Zoom link for live online classes, along with any required class materials.


Embark on a comprehensive journey into the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI) designed to demystify AI and its subfields. Learn about AI's historical roots, its sudden ascendance, and the difference between AI and traditional search systems.

This course is designed for anyone interested in understanding AI beyond the buzzwords. No technical background is necessary. Whether you are a student, a professional in any field, or simply an intrigued individual, this course aims to make the complex world of AI accessible and understandable. Join us as we delve into this exciting and thought-provoking exploration of AI!

We will embark on an exploration of artificial intelligence (AI), a technology that has pervasively transformed our world. From understanding its roots and current state to predicting its potential future impacts, this course will provide a broad overview of AI, machine learning (ML), artificial general intelligence (AGI), and artificial superintelligence (ASI).


  • The first module will introduce you to the foundations of AI, answering questions like: What is AI? What are ML, AGI, and ASI? Where are we in AI development today? This will be followed by a high-level overview of the history of AI, providing context on how we reached our current state of technological progress.
  • Next, delve into why AI has recently surged to the forefront of technological discussions. We will investigate why AI isn't merely an advanced search engine and provide an overview of how it works. The course will also elucidate the advantages of AI over traditional search systems and discuss why it is increasingly adopted for search applications.
  • We will decode jargon such as zero-shot learning, limited-shot learning, and emergent behavior, all crucial components of AI development. We'll also differentiate between terms like architecture, model, agent, and bot, and discuss their specific roles in AI.
  • Our module on "Modality" will explore the various modes through which AI can interact with humans and data, followed by a discussion on model interactions and chaining. We'll also compare APIs and user interfaces, focusing on their use in AI.

The course will provide a comprehensive view of the current state of AI, identifying the key players and the latest breakthroughs. We will delve into the philosophical and ethical aspects of AI, exploring complex questions such as the sentience and sapience of AI entities.

Addressing the increasing discourse on AI as an existential threat, we'll discuss the potential risks and ethical dilemmas it presents. Drawing from philosophy, ethics, and science fiction, we will consider a variety of perspectives on AI's possible trajectories and implications.

Finally, the course will conclude with a forward-looking discussion about what to expect next from AI and when. We'll contemplate the possible developments in AI technology and how it may continue to shape our societies and economies.

University IT Technology Training classes are only available to Stanford University staff, faculty, students, and Stanford Hospitals & Clinics employees, including Stanford Health Care, Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley, Stanford Medicine Partners, and Stanford Medicine Children's Health. A valid SUNet ID is needed to enroll in a class.