Image: KOHb, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Organizations failing to adopt AI risk falling behind in their markets. Even without the budget for it, advancing the AI know-how in your organization must include democratizing AI so it can become the province of everyday operations, and not just data scientists.

“‘Democratization’ can be a dirty word,” wrote blogger Chrissy Kidd in 2019. “Some folks hear it and conjure up long conference calls or work meetings abuzz with words like synchronicity and alignment. On the much more positive side, however, democratization is a good thing, where a resource that is useful can become more readily available to the masses.”

SEE: Managing AI and ML in the enterprise 2020: Tech leaders increase project development and implementation (TechRepublic Premium)

Kidd said many companies are unsure how to begin. “Lots of other companies are behind. They may not know how to start using AI, and they may not have the resources to create their own AI.”

Not exactly knowing what AI is, what it can and can’t do, and how to expand its use to different areas of the organization is precisely where most companies are. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, companies are also concerned about operating budgets and how much they can invest. In this environment, a discretionary expense such as internal staff training is one of the first items in the budget to get scaled back.

SEE: Building the bionic brain (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

One way to keep AI momentum moving forward while also conserving budgets is by taking advantage of free AI educational resources that can help employees at all levels of the organization learn.

Here are two great, free ways to do this.

AI courses

Yes, you can take free AI courses to begin your education or sharpen your AI skills.

AI tools

The open-source community is rich with free AI tools that enable employees to get involved with AI. Many of these tools provide on-ramps into AI application development methods that can be plugged directly into the company’s IT and data science work with AI.

Here is small sampling of some of the free AI tools that are are available as open source:

  • IBM Watson Studio Desktop is available to academic and educational institutions as free, open-source AI software on the cloud. The tool covers AI and subsets of the discipline such as machine learning. Watson is an established platform that students and staff can experiment with as they develop their AI skills. Watson also offers code-free analysis tools, making it easier for non-IT and data science staff to experiment.
  • Apache Mahout is a free AI tool for data mining in Hadoop, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Yahoo. It is especially useful in online sales and marketing, given its ability to use purchase recommender engines, along with data filtering that can target users and customers.
  • OpenNN provides rapid AI data processing speeds and free neural network libraries. Its sweet spot is dealing with machine learning, advanced algorithms, and the design of neural networks. It has delivered impactive results in the utilities and infrastructure sectors. OpenNN focuses on AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics. It is an open-source tool best used by IT and data science professionals.

There are free AI resources and tools out there that can help you and your organization enrich your AI knowledge. At the same time, you can be mindful of the financial bottom line of your company as you continue to move forward with your AI.