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The presence of artificial intelligence in Kentucky has been slowly growing for quite some time now. And it looks like 2024 is going to be a big year for this. 

For one, early this year the city of Lexington hosted the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce event Kentucky A.I. Summit. The late-January event gave business owners and researchers and government representatives the opportunity to brainstorm and learn about this fast-growing technology. 

And also of course that summit was an opportunity to find out ways to advance and likewise implement A.I. within the state of Kentucky, fostering the Bluegrass State’s high-tech sector’s innovation. 

It seems that this summit was indeed a sign of this state’s seriousness about becoming a tech hub for A.I. innovation, because one its most notable universities, Northern Kentucky University, recently announced that it will now be offering a minor in A.I. 

Northern Kentucky University and A.I.

Otherwise known as NKU, this university is just across the border from the major city of Cincinnati, Ohio. 

That city is actually known as a big employer of NKU graduates, which could mean that Kentucky-educated A.I. experts may be able to spread their knowledge across the Ohio River. As things stand, that Kentucky-adjacent city may become a major A.I. tech hub that builds partnerships with many businesses and other organizations in the nearby northern Kentucky region. 

But of course many of those students minoring in A.I. will surely spread their wealth of knowledge within the great state of Kentucky as well.

Why This Is So Significant

You may be forgiven if you assumed some of the state’s biggest campuses were already swarming with students minoring in A.I. 

But nope, it turns out that Northern Kentucky University is actually ahead of the larger University of Louisville and University of Kentucky in offering this minor. 

In fact, this is the first university in the entire commonwealth of Kentucky to offer a minor in A.I. 

So, yes, pretty big deal if we may say so ourselves. 

Details of the A.I. Minor

So, what will a fresh-faced matriculant who has recently joined the NKU Norse get out of this A.I. minor?

It will be offered through the School of Informatics. Though it makes sense to expect that many of the students who take on the minor will be computer science students already getting a major through the School of Informatics, that may not be the case. 

For instance, plenty of business students are out there who may believe that the business world will change irrevocably because of A.I. integrations in the coming decades, so getting a foundational knowledge of the technology now could help them better succeed in business. 

Same with media school students who may be keen to the reality that so much of media production is going to involve just a ton of A.I. tools in creative suites like the Adobe Creative Cloud. Even the writers of advertisements and screenplays need to square with the fact that A.I. is here to stay in their respective fields. 

Yet another example would be students whose degrees involve any amount of data analysis or prediction. Experts believe that fields involving predictions, which could be something like environmental science, will see huge changes as A.I. continues to get bigger and bigger. 

And outside of the NKU campus, this A.I. minor will likely have a big impact on the state of Kentucky. 

The Implications of Northern Kentucky University’s Minor for Kentucky

This minor in A.I. can actually be a, ahem, major benefit for the state of A.I. in KY in general. 

For one, it will likely influence other universities in the state to put more resources into offering A.I. degree tracks. 

It would be odd, really, for U of L or UK to not try to compete with NKU here, because, again, given the novelty of an in-state A.I. minor along with the proximity to a Midwestern power player of a city may be attractive enough for many in-state high schoolers trying to choose what Kentucky college to attend. 

And this will more than likely encourage a sort of healthy competition that lends to greater upskilling and innovation across the board for people going to college in Kentucky. 

And from there, people going from these A.I. minors to tech roles in the state of Kentucky. 

This could also imply that more Kentuckians with A.I. minors might feel inclined to initiate A.I. businesses within the state.

There is of course plenty of reason to do so after all, given the amount of A.I. innovation that is happening elsewhere in Kentucky. From A.I. summits in Lexington to A.I. companies setting up shop in Bowling Green, there is a lot to take in.