Free Online Artificial Intelligence Course from Stanford

I just did a brief post at ReadWriteWeb on the free online artificial intelligence class at Stanford:

The course will be taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig. The course will include online lectures by the two, and according to the course website both professors will be available for online discussions. And according to the video embedded below, students in the online class will be graded on a curve just like regular Stanford students and receive a certificate of completion with their grade.

ReadWriteWeb: Take Stanford’s AI Course For Free Online

One of the interesting things here is that you can, for the most part, get the full education of the course. You just don’t get the course credit. But maybe students at other universities could take the class and then test out of their own school’s AI course? What impact would it have on professors if universities accepted certificates like this to count towards credit toward a degree at their school?

John Robb has speculated that an Ivy League education could be provided for $20 a month. Andrew McAfee has asked what a higher education bust would actually look like. One possibility is that thousands of professors get laid off as a smaller number of more prestigious professors can teach larger numbers of students via the Internet.

You might also be interested in this collection of free lectures from the Stanford Human Behavioral Biology course (via Dr. Benway). And of course, there’s always The Khan Academy.


  1. This is awesome – but there’s still a long way to go. Universities provide a lot more than just course content and testing.

    I’m no fan of universities – if we want to compete with them, then we need to be aware of their total value proposition, how that can be unbundled and then rebundled in new, more effective, less costly forms.

  2. Another thing to keep in mind is that a big chunk of the value of elite education from the employer’s perspective is the work the admissions department does in screening candidates.

    Basically, a lot of companies have effectively “outsourced” the first stage of recruitment (talent identification) to elite admission departments.

    Expect to see real disruption in the education market when corporations realize that even elite schools aren’t providing them with the raw material they need (this is just beginning to happen as corporations struggle to find talent when there’s a ton of unemployment.

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