Stephen Schwarzman doesn’t do things halfway… ten years ago, he donated $100 million to the NY Public Library, subsequently known as the the Stephen A. Schwarzman building.
That was for books.
In October 2018 he announced a $350 million grant to MIT to study artificial intelligence.
His foundational gift – part of a $1 billion commitment by MIT to “to address the global opportunities and challenges presented by the prevalence of computing and the rise of artificial intelligence”, will help establish the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It will also:
- reorient MIT to bring the power of computing and AI to all fields of study at MIT, allowing the future of computing and AI to be shaped by insights from all other disciplines;
- create 50 new faculty positions that will be located both within the College and jointly with other departments across MIT — nearly doubling MIT’s academic capability in computing and AI;
- give MIT’s five schools a shared structure for collaborative education, research, and innovation in computing and AI;
- educate students in every discipline to responsibly use and develop AI and computing technologies to help make a better world; and
- transform education and research in public policy and ethical considerations relevant to computing and AI.
Schwarzman also gave $5 million to the Harvard Business Review earlier in 2018 for case studies around the implications of AI on business, but that’s almost too small to mention.
AI and big data are a major focus area for Blackstone: COO Tony James mentioned data as the driving force to buy Thomson Reuters’ financial and risk unit (aka Refinitiv, closed in October 2018), says AI is used to screen applicants… and he also sends everyone from top executives to the most junior staff to Palo Alto to study emerging technologies, AI and the use of data for the firm.