The View

The Future Is Here.

Portrait of Nariman FarvardinPortrait: Barry FallsAs a young researcher more than 30 years ago, I recall artificial neural networks, which evolved into powerful algorithms and the artificial intelligence (AI) of today.   

How did we get here, to this technology that is grabbing headlines and inspiring tremendous hope — and concern? Three major advances converged to pave the way for the development of the current version of AI. We now have the most powerful computers — at the most reasonable cost — ever available to humankind. The proliferation of data creation over the past 25 years is another factor. And we have seen tremendous advances in algorithmic development. AI tools will only become dramatically more powerful in the coming years.  

Moving forward, higher education must provide students with a basic knowledge of AI to enable them to be successful, contributing members of a world driven by technology. Stevens has responded to this challenge. In 2018, we created the Stevens Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI), bringing together more than 100 Stevens faculty members across various disciplines to develop core algorithmic aspects and a variety of AI applications, from drug discovery to new materials to finance.  

We now offer degree and certificate programs, courses and research focused on AI, which is one of Stevens’ six research pillars. At this spring’s Innovation Expo, several student senior design projects aimed to demonstrate AI’s power to improve lives, from facilitating drug design and development and helping diagnose mental health disorders, to creating a chatbot virtual personal trainer that customizes workouts and promotes wellness.  

This fall, we introduce a revolutionary new core curriculum for all undergraduates. This richly diverse coursework covers life skills, communication, modern-day leadership and ethical values, along with immersion in current and emerging technologies, where students will explore — and understand the societal impacts of — data science and analytics, biotechnology, sustainability, quantum technology and, of course, AI.  

Our new core curriculum is known as SUCCESS (Stevens Undergraduate Core Curriculum: Essential Skills for Success), and it will equip every undergraduate with the essential skills to adapt and thrive in the dynamic 21st-century digital economy — just as Stevens does and will continue to do. 

Nariman Farvardin 
President, Stevens Institute of Technology 
[email protected]