How can young people prepare for an AI future?

25 January 2024

Artificial intelligence has been described as the industrial revolution for human intellect and the question for all of us is how do we prepare for a future which we cannot imagine?

Professor Chris Bussell, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Derby, says:

“AI is changing our world. Just as machine technology impacted on our lives to create a world dominated by industry and machine manufacturing, the AI revolution will impact on human cognitive processing. It will change our future, how we work and what jobs we do, and how society lives, interacts, and thinks.”

Professor Bussell says that young people will enter a future which is as different to today as the industrial age was different to feudal society.

“The rate of change is exponential,” he explains, “and every major industry will be impacted.

“Companies are spending billions of pounds on AI products and services. Our job in universities is to ensure that we prepare students to harness and engage that technology. So far, university curricula have focused on computer programming and big data. This year at the University of Derby we are introducing the UK’s first AI practitioner programmes aligned to industry sector needs.”

AI will have an effect on many industries. For example, how will big data impact on healthcare, on identifying disease and streamlining drug discovery, and how will a virtual nursing assistant be responsible for patients? How can HR specialists use automation and computer-based intelligence to assist with recruitment and staffing? And law makers will need to understand the status of AI-operated systems, such as autonomous cars, to decide who is at fault in a car crash – could AI be a legal entity?

These are just some of the pressing questions students will look to explore in the new suite of artificial intelligence courses launched by the University this year. What stands these courses apart from other AI degrees is their applied nature, which will ensure that students graduate with the skills, knowledge, and expertise to understand, pre-empt and maximise the opportunities that this new technology will provide.

Among the new courses on offer at the University of Derby is the BSc (Hons)* Artificial Intelligence in Criminology degree, which will review how machine learning and automated technologies will revolutionise investigation and prevention of crimes. Scientists are looking at how AI can be used to predict patterns of reoffending, how we track crimes and criminals around the globe, and how AI can be used for safer and more reliable sentencing of criminals and students will be at the cutting-edge of this field.

Students on the new BSc (Hons)* Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare will learn how to use cutting-edge science and data to contribute to improving digital transformation in healthcare, putting human-centred design, agility and a solutions-focused approach at the heart of their learning.

Professor Myra Conway, Associate Provost – Innovation and Research at the University of Derby, says:

“This is an extremely exciting time for the University of Derby. We are setting the blueprint for what students should be learning by responding to the rapid growth in the AI and machine learning sector. Our programmes are innovative and future-focused, designed to address key challenges of the modern world.

“From criminology to medical systems, AI is at the forefront of many industries and its imperative that as a university we equip our students with the skills to succeed in the graduate job market and learn how AI will shape the future of key sectors.  

“At the University of Derby, we are focused on educating and empowering the next generation of game-changers, innovators, creative thinkers to make a positive impact on the world.”

The new AI programmes are part of a suite of new courses launched by the University of Derby, which start in September 2024.

The new programmes include:

Students will have the opportunity to use the University’s industry-standard learning facilities containing cutting-edge software development tools and real-world learning spaces. They will be taught by expert academics, who are undertaking innovative research in leading AI and machine learning projects.   

Professor Bussell says:

“There are still major breakthroughs which need to happen with AI and how we apply it, and we want University of Derby graduates to be leading the revolution and be at the forefront of the ethical implementation of what is possible.

"The UCAS application deadline this year is 31 January and this is an opportunity for everyone to take their first step into a really exciting future at Derby.”

For more information about the courses on offer at the University of Derby, and to apply, visit

*See website for further details

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