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Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman

MIT Creates New College For AI

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology just landed a huge donation to fund a new college of artificial intelligence.

The new MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing is backed by a $350 million foundational gift from Schwarzman, who is the CEO and co-founder of Blackstone, a leading global asset manager, Forbes reports.

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

A Hub For Artificial Intelligence

The Schwarzman College of Computing will serve as an interdisciplinary hub for work in fields like computer science, AI, data science, and other related fields.

According to MIT, 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.”

Additionally, the college will create 50 new faculty positions—nearly doubling MIT’s current staffing in computing and AI.

More importantly, however, this donation is a statement.

“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,” according to a press release. “Amid a rapidly evolving geopolitical environment that is constantly being reshaped by technology, the College will have significant impact on our nation’s competitiveness and security.”

The Largest Single Donation From Schwarzman

Schwarzman’s contribution represents the single largest single donation he’s ever made. Schwarzman, who is 71, has an estimated net worth of $13.6 billion, according to Forbes.

Schwarzman has made a number of contributions over the years including a $100 million donation to fund a Rhodes Scholar-like program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The program, Schwarzman Scholars, will educate future global leaders in China.

He has also donated $150 million to Yale University, his alma mater, to fund the Schwarzman Center, a world class campus center that is set to open in 2020, according to Yale.

Reif, MIT’s president, says the donation will help to educate students in hopes of creating a better world.

“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,” Reif says in a statement. “With uncommon insight and generosity, Mr. Schwarzman is enabling a bold agenda that will lead to a better world. I am deeply grateful for his commitment to our shared vision.”

Sources: Forbes, MIT, Yale

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