Blackstone CEO’s 350 Million Investment Started a New Chapter for MIT


writer icon Vera P. Jensen     Muzammil Soorma   |   Tech     🕐 22. Nov. 2019

Charmain and CEO of Blackstone Stephen Schwarzman said in an interview with David Rubenstein that he was concerned that the US was not investing enough in AI technologies.

Despite not having attended MIT himself, Schwarzman ran into the President of MIT, Leo Rafael Reif. By Schwarzman’s own accord, a sincere conversation with the MIT president ensued, where they discussed how to get more AI learning into MIT. Following this conversation, things were quickly set in motion.

“I’m not a technologist, I admit,” said Schwarzman and went on to explain that Rafael Reif had come back with a proposal to create the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, also called MIT Schwarzman College of Computing.

A New College, a New Approach
After Schwarzman’s initial donation of 350 million dollars to the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, MIT announced in October 2018 a 1.1 billion dollar commitment to the new college.

Thrilled by Schwarzman’s donation, MIT has honoured him by naming the computing college after him. On their webpage the college writes about Schwarzman:

“Both in business and through his extensive philanthropy, Mr. Schwarzman focuses on providing transformative solutions to global-scale problems.”

Referring to the creation of the Schwarzman College of Computing Rafael Reif said “That’s a radical bold move by MIT, to adjust and prepare the student of today for the world of the future.”

Melissa Nobles, Dean and Professor of MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, said: ” Scholars and faculty from other departments will also be interacting with, and shaping, the tools that are being created at the college. So this is not a one-way street. It’s a two-way street, a collaborative effort, in a new intellectual frontier.”

Raising the Standard
Rafael Reif emphasises the importance of such a college. He also highlights the ethics surrounding the evolution of technologies and how they are affecting our societies.

“MIT is going to be the anchor of what we will know in this society as public interest technology. What MIT is doing will set the pace for every other university that wants to be relevant in the future,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

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