In this episode of My TechDecisions podcast, host and TD managing editor Jonathan Blackwood speaks with Raymond Todd Blackwood, Vice President of Product Management for Campus Management, about artificial intelligence in higher education environments.
Raymond Todd Blackwood began his relationship with artificial intelligence during his undergraduate studies at the University of Advancing Technology in the mid-1990s. After graduating he stayed on at the University in the IT department and built a bot that could make all of the databases at the institution communicate clearly, translating data from one system to another.
The program could generate personalized emails that delivered reports to administration all the way up to the Dean of the University. It was so advanced at the time that faculty members believed the bot sending them emails was an actual staff member and would request to speak to him about the data sets.
Suffice it to say Raymond Todd Blackwood is a subject matter expert in artificial intelligence, especially so in universities. That’s what we focus on in today’s interview.
Currently he works to implement artificial intelligence into his company’s CRM platform. The AI, called Renee, utilizes predictive analytics and machine learning to provide course recommendations for upcoming semesters, find patterns in student outcome data, make predictions about enrollment numbers and retention, and more. Renee is currently being tested on select campuses, and Raymond Todd speaks about how the testing is going and how it is helping those universities.
His company, Campus Management, partnered with Microsoft Azure as the public cloud host for their AI platform. Raymond Todd speaks about the initial process of working on Renee’s machine learning capabilities, and how Microsoft Azure’s APIs helped them get over some of the hurdles they were running into. He explains how this allowed Renee to evolve from a rule-based communication engine into a true AI that can understand natural language and be plugged into different data environments.
In addition, Raymond talks about all the ways that Renee and other artificial intelligence can expand the knowledge of universities in order to help faculty and students. He speaks about how AI can pull data from practically anywhere, visualize that data, and allow that data to provide intelligence.
Listen to the interview for the specifics. You’ll learn all about what artificial intelligence is currently doing to aide universities, and what AI will do in the future to aide universities. You’ll also learn about how AI learns and communicates. It’s an exciting interview for anyone interested in learning more about artificial intelligence.
Listen to this podcast using the embedded player below.