Microsoft and INSEAD, an international business school, have launched a package of free online courses to encourage professionals to embrace artificial intelligence (AI).

While the courses are aimed at those in industry, anyone with an interest in the topic can participate in the AI Business School.

The course materials feature a host of 10 minute on-demand lectures divided into four subject areas: strategy, culture, responsible AI and technology. Experts at Microsoft will share their own insights and experiences with AI in the lectures.

Ian Fordham, Chief Learning and Skills Officer at Microsoft UK, believes, “Britain has an incredible opportunity to become a leader in AI”. Fordham goes on to say, “To achieve this we must ensure people acquire the necessary skills that will enable current and future businesses to thrive and prosper in this new AI-empowered world.”

Microsoft has been increasingly humanising the face of AI by showcasing both its potential in the near future and the benefits it offers to consumers in its current range of products. It has even teamed up with rapper and actor, Common, to launch a series of TV and online ads where the self-confessed tech geek rhymes about his optimism for AI and, the pioneering work of Microsoft in AI.

As with all computing innovations, AI is filtering down into applications many of us use every day. The latest version of the Office 365 software suite - which you can purchase bundled together with a range of Microsoft’s flagship Surface devices - employs AI in ways which are powerful yet discrete, such as PowerPoint automatically arranging your images in the most aesthetically pleasing layout, and MyAnalytics examining the working patterns of whole teams as well as individuals. 

AI also gives instant and accurate foreign language translation via the Microsoft owned SwiftKey. This typing app, a long-time staple on Android devices, iPads and iPhones, now features on Windows 10 devices such as the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2, both of which can be purchased with a £200 saving.