Planetizen course: Demystifying AI
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Cautiously Curious and Learning More about AI

I’ve got to admit a couple of things.  First, I’m still curious about AI. Second, this year I fell a bit behind in my required continuing education to maintain my AICP certification.  Between preparing for and completing the 16-week Goldman Sachs 10KSB Program and simultaneously managing and working in our company, I just didn’t finish those AICP credit hours until the last minute.  Over the final two weeks of December, I crammed in as many online courses as I could, as no more in-person conferences or classes as were available.  Far from arduous, this concentrated period refreshed my knowledge in some areas and I learned a handful of new things.   I took this opportunity to learn more about AI. 

As I’ve written in a previous post (link), I’m pretty cautious about the use of AI.  That said, I know I need to learn more about it.  This course from Planetizen, “Demystifying AI for Planners” was immensely helpful.  It touched on the language and terminology of AI and explained:

  • Neural networks – we don’t really know what is going on within this part of the AI models.  Deep learning uses these neural networks to process and learn hierarchical relationships
  • Supervised learning – type of machine learning where the model is trained using labeled data
  • Unsupervised learning – type of machine learning where the model is trained using data without any labels. Instead of being told the answer, the model tries to find patterns on its own
  • Reinforcement learning – where a computer program learns to make decisions by performing actions and receiving feedback in the form of rewards or penalties
  • Natural language processing – enabling computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language in a way that is meaningful
  • Computer vision – teaches computers to understand the visual world

I hope that Planetizen follows this course up with more, as it actually explained AI rather than simply sang its praises or foretold the end of the world due to AI – the tack nearly everything published in the mainstream media takes when discussing AI.  I ended the course curious.  Curious is a good thing.

Suzanne P. Leckert, AICP

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