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Artificial Intelligence: An Executive Primer

Learn how to use AI in your business for strategy and profit.


This intensive course on the business of artificial intelligence (AI) is designed to introduce executives to the opportunities and risks associated with this new technology. To our knowledge, it is the first course in the world of its kind.

AI is poised to infiltrate all industries and markets. Globally, AI skills are increasingly valuable. Businesses at the frontier have begun to take advantage of machine learning to grow and transform their strategies. But what is real and what is hype? How can AI add value to your organization within the next 18 months? How should you plan for the next 3–5 years? What capabilities do you need to start investing in today to position yourself for tomorrow?

Leaders need a deep understanding of what AI can do in order to position their organizations for the upcoming wave of competition based on AI, similar in some ways to what we experienced 20 years ago with the arrival of the internet.

Rotman’s Creative Destruction Lab and Executive Programs offer this new course to provide this understanding. The course is not technical. It does not take a computer science perspective on the topic. Rather, it focuses on the economics of AI and the implications for business.

You will leave the course with a toolkit for introducing AI into your organization. You will learn how to design your organization to identify opportunities for implementing AI and then executing on the implementation. You will learn how to coach your team on how to determine when to build or buy AI tools to enhance the productivity of your existing operations. You will discover how to develop strategies with your leadership team for leveraging the most powerful AI tools to transform your business strategy if and when appropriate.

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This new course is based on "Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence", published by the Harvard Business Review Press in April 2018. The course will be delivered by the three Rotman School professors—Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb—who authored the book.  Here is what others have had to say about the book:

AI may transform your life. And Prediction Machines will transform your understanding of AI. This is the best book yet on what may be the best technology that has come along.

Larry Summers | Professor
Harvard University
former Secretary, US Treasury
former Chief Economist, World Bank

Prediction Machines achieves a feat as welcome as it is unique: a crisp, readable survey of where artificial intelligence is taking us separates hype from reality, while delivering a steady stream of fresh insights. The key is that the authors view AI's life-changing developments through the lens of economics vs. technology—and thus speak in a language top executives and policymakers will understand.  Every leader needs to read this book.

Dominic Barton | Global Managing Partner
McKinsey & Company

This book makes artificial intelligence easier to understand by recasting it as a new cheap commodity—predictions. It's a brilliant move. I found the book incredibly useful.

Kevin Kelly | Founding Executive Editor
Author: What Technology Wants and The Inevitable

Prediction Machines is a pathbreaking book that focuses on what strategists and managers really need to know about the AI revolution. Taking a grounded, realistic perspective on the technology, the book uses principles of economics and strategy to understand how firms, industries, and management will be transformed by AI.

Susan Athey | Professor 
Stanford University
former Chief Economist, Microsoft

Prediction Machines is a must-read for business leaders, policymakers, economists, strategists, and anyone who wants to understand implications of AI on designing business strategies, decisions, and how AI will impact our society. Read this book and learn from the best!

Ruslan Salakhutdinov | Director, AI Research
Professor, Carnegie Mellon University 

This is the first book to explain the economics of artificial intelligence. It's a must-read for every business person interested in this technology. I encounter so many people who feel excited but overwhelmed by AI. This book will ground those feeling lost by giving them a practical framework.

Shivon Zilis | OpenAI Director & Partner
Bloomberg Beta

The current AI revolution will likely result in abundance, but the process of getting there requires deliberation on tough topics that include increasing unemployment and income disparity. This book presents frameworks that allow decision makers to deeply understand the forces at play.

Vinod Khosla | Founding CEO
Sun Microsystems
Khosla Ventures

What does AI mean for my business? Read this book to find out.

Hal Varian | Chief Economist

AI's the most transformative technology of our era. Agrawal, Gans, and Goldfarb not only understand its essence, but also deliver deep insights into its economic implications and intrinsic trade-offs. If you want to clear the fog of AI hype and see clearly the core of AI's challenges and opportunities for society, your first step should be to read this book.

Erik Brynjolfsson | Professor
Author: The Second Machine Age and Machine Platform Crowd

Key Benefits

  • Explore how AI can fundamentally change your organization's strategy as AI's predictive capabilities improve.
  • Examine how your human resources can work with AI and the skills they need to bring AI to its full potential.
  • Learn how to re-engineer the workflows in your organization to integrate AI throughout your operations
  • Discover what machine learning is capable of doing today and its future potential.

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'Rotman's AI program really opens one's eyes to the potential for disruption in any industry.' - Dean B. Mackie, M.Sc, Director, Enterprise Applications and Chief Architect, Teck Digital Systems

Who Should Attend

  • Executives looking to understand how AI will disrupt, augment or change their core business
  • Innovative leaders looking to introduce, manage and lead machine learning projects
  • Mid to senior executives in AI-sensitive organizations looking to apply AI to real problems

I attended the course and found it a very useful experience, and I highly recommend it to others. It is an in-person overview of a new book, "Prediction Machines" by its three authors, all extremely smart and excellent speakers. It is an MBA-level course and all of the attendees are in senior business roles, so the conversations and networking were as valuable as the course material. It really opens one’s eyes to the potential for disruption in any industry, including mine.

Dean B. Mackie M.Sc. | Director & Chief Architect, Enterprise Applications
Teck Digital Systems

Rotman Executive Program faculty are known for their ability to translate the latest research into practical applications for the workplace, and to transmit skills to participants with the best teaching techniques. Industry leaders contribute to our programs to bring you the most up-to-date best practices and a wealth of real-world experience.

Meet the faculty and instructors teaching in Artificial Intelligence: An Executive Primer


Ajay Agrawal »


Joshua Gans »

Avi Goldfarb

Avi Goldfarb »

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Fee: $4,500 CAD + HST

Apply Now Artificial Intelligence: An Executive Primer

A deposit of 50% of the program fee is required at time of application. The balance of the program fee is due 30 days after receipt of invoice or 30 days before the start of the program, whichever is first.

Application Process

Before beginning the application process, please review the application policies. To apply, complete the online application form.

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Each application is reviewed by Rotman’s admissions committee to ensure participants have the appropriate academic and work experience.

Participant Notification Process

If space is available and eligibility requirements are met, participants will receive a notice of admission within 10 days of receipt of a completed application and fee deposit.

Payment and Fee Reduction


Payments can be made online. Applicants will be redirected to a secure online payment website after completion of the application form. Deposits will be refunded to applicants not accepted to the program.

Fee Reduction

Rotman Executive Program graduates or Rotman MBA / EMBA alumni are eligible for a discount equivalent to 10% of the program tuition. In addition, partner discounts are also offered for some programs. Where program applicants are eligible for more than one discount, only the greater discount will be applied towards the tuition fee. Discounts are not redeemable for cash.

*Participants will be responsible for their own travel, accommodation and incidental costs. Participants requiring accommodation during the program are eligible for preferred Rotman rates at select hotels. For more information contact an Executive Programs representative at

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Dates and FeesMark your calendar

1.5 day intensive program


September 26–27, 2018
December 17–18, 2018


Rotman School of Management, Toronto, Ontario


Participant profile:
Executives looking to understand how AI will disrupt, augment or change their core business.


$4,500 CAD + HST


Questions? We're here to help!
Speak to our expert Learning Advisor about choosing the right program for you or your organization.

Tel: 416.978.8815

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An Executive Primer

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