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Concordia Continuing Education’s AI program provides glimpse into unwritten future

Graduate Victoria Falciani recounts her six-month journey through the four-course certificate program
April 16, 2024
By Giordano Cescutti

CCE's Certificate in AI Proficiency

Victoria Falciani is always open-minded when deciding to learn something new. But her introduction to studying Artificial Intelligence took a different route. In 2021, Falciani’s interest in AI piqued after seeing the ominous, grayscale cover of the book “CLOG x Artificial Intelligence,” a compilation of about 60 articles that critically examine AI from its origins to its future.

“I literally judged a book by its cover, read it, and thought it was fascinating,” said Falciani, a recent John Molson School of Business grad who now works as a client service associate at B2B consulting firm Dialectica. “My interest in AI was sparked through intellectual curiosity.”

Falciani’s burgeoning interest led her to delve deeper into the subject in Concordia Continuing Education’s four-course Certificate in AI proficiency, a decision she felt would provide a glimpse into a yet-unwritten future.

“If you walked up to someone in 1990 and asked if they wanted to take a course on the internet,” Falciani says, “They’d probably say ‘What’s that? Sure!’ If I was in the ‘90s and someone offered me that opportunity, I’d jump on it because who wouldn’t want to learn about what the future holds before it actually happens? 

Taught over two academic sessions, the certificate’s four synchronous online courses total 120 hours. In the second course, “Responsible and Ethical AI,” Falciani and her classmates, including a cardiologist, grocery store owner, and graphic designer, analyzed numerous instances of unethical and irresponsible AI applications through use cases. 

Victoria Falciani Victoria Falciani

One striking example was the revelation that, buried in the fine print, an app reserved the right to sell user data to the government and monitor their menstrual cycles. 

“In a country where abortion could be illegal,” Falciani noted, “This presents a significant concern. Discovering such unforeseen implications was truly eye-opening for me.” 

Falciani attributes these realizations and her newfound knowledge to the certificate’s four instructors.

“They put their heart, character, and personality into the material,” said Falciani. “Even though we were learning about robots, it was nice not to be taught by a bunch of them,” she joked. “Had they just clocked in and out, I would have seen this experience as ‘Oh, I’ll do an AI certification, and once it’s done, I’ll put it on my LinkedIn, it’s nice and shiny, and I won’t ever say the words AI again. But instead, they set the foundation for further interest.”

Falciani aspires to build on the foundation she gathered in the program by pursuing a master’s degree in AI in hopes of leveraging her current and future knowledge to make meaningful contributions to ESG initiatives.

“If AI is meant for streamlining and automating—all of these other buzz words that mean faster, better, and more accurate—I think it would be imperative to implement it into ESG initiatives and regulations to reduce carbon emissions and get closer to net zero. There’s so much explosive growth opportunity with it that if you can understand it now in 2024 at the level that the courses provide, you’re really setting yourself up to keep pace as AI continues to evolve.”

Register now for Concordia Continuing Education’s Certificate in AI Proficiency, which begins September 17, 2024.

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