Learn AI in Arkansas: A Guide to Artificial Intelligence Degree Programs & Certificate-Level Training Courses Online & in Arkansas

Artificial intelligence has swiftly moved beyond the small circles of advanced research laboratories and high-tech fields, debunking the notion that this type of advanced technology has little relevance in everyday society. In Arkansas, AI is everywhere you look, permeating all industries and sectors and changing the way our society functions.

Take the construction industry, for example. Arkansas’ construction leaders are embracing AI and counting on it to shape their businesses into leaner, safer, and more efficient enterprises.

In fact, in Arkansas’ construction industry, it’s fair to say that businesses who aren’t exploring the power of AI are already behind the eight ball. According to Vantage Market Research, the global market value of AI in construction is expected to rise to $4.9 billion in 2030 – that’s a 35 percent compound annual growth rate between 2023 and 2030.

Nabholz Construction, which has locations in Fort Smith and Jonesboro, as well as throughout Central and Northwest Arkansas, has been actively testing AI tools for over a year and a half, with much of the testing being done in pre-construction. They’re exploring AI to help develop plan options for sites, create and manage workflows, locate the most attractive scheduling solutions, and digitally document project progress. As a result of their focus on AI, they’ve been creating new positions for computer programmers and analysts – positions that would have been virtually unheard of even five years ago. AI professionals are now integral to the success of the company, ensuring that data sources are working together and flowing on the back end.

VCC Construction, with locations in Little Rock and Fayetteville, is also exploring what AI can do for their business. In mid-2022, they even established a task force that closely follows the newest AI developments and considers how they can be best implemented into the business to improve efficiency and processes – a must when running logistics processes on a mammoth scale. And Baldwin & Shell Construction, with locations in Springdale and Jonesboro, has been using AI in a number of areas, such as software integration. They also employ an AI-driven robot that prints building layouts on concrete slabs at job sites.

Artificial intelligence and its use in all areas of business and industry is only going up, creating outstanding opportunities for engineers, computer scientists, data analysts, and more. Maybe you’re looking for a bachelor’s degree in AI that will provide a solid foundation on which you can build a career in a field like software engineering or computer science. Maybe you’re ready to take the next step and pursue a master’s degree or graduate certificate in the field to specialize and advance your current skillset. Whatever your situation, a formal education in AI simply can’t be substituted.

Artificial Intelligence in Poultry Processing? It’s Happening in Arkansas

poultry processingArtificial intelligence is a hot topic at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station’s poultry processing plant in Fayetteville. For those unfamiliar with the technology, AI and poultry processing may sound like strange bedfellows, but for the scientists working on the technology, it makes perfect sense.

Thanks to a $5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) grant, the Center for Scalable and Intelligent Automation in Poultry processing was created to explore the ways in which robotic automation can be adapted into the poultry processing industry.

Led by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, researchers on this project will work alongside five other institutions to increase the use of AI and robotics to both reduce waste and detect dangerous pathogens in chicken meat processing.

The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, which is a research arm of the Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, will receive $2.2 million in grant money to focus on food safety automation. Georgia Tech is also set to receive about $2.1 million to focus on automating chicken processing lines.

The need to implement AI into chicken processing was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the disease quickly spread to workers in the processing lines. Since then, worker shortages have strained the industry, spurring a need for automated robots to take the place of human workers.

Current automated de-boning machines waste a significant amount of meat, so researchers are turning to AI and VR to improve their prevision and reduce waste. They’re also looking to automate food safety practices that include robots that can monitor processing lines for the existence of pathogens like salmonella, evaluate the efficacy of a facility’s sanitation efforts, and even collect swabs to test for bacteria.

AI Jobs in Arkansas

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, computer information and research scientists in Arkansas are expected to increase by 14 percent in the years leading up to 2030.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Little Rock and Bentonville

From data engineers to research scientists, jobs for AI professionals run the gamut in Arkansas. These professionals develop, maintain, and implement the technology that helps businesses optimize their processes and outcomes to remain competitive:

AI Companies in Bentonville, Conway, and Fayetteville

From leading technology companies to startups and researchers, scores of Arkansas companies in business and industry are developing the next generation of AI solutions and making serious inroads in everything from healthcare to cybersecurity to transportation.

For example, Reason Creations in Bentonville is using AI to offer their customers social media management services. They’ve been leveraging this technology to do everything from conducting market research to gathering data on consumer behavior to develop strategic brand decisions that allow companies to accurately target their audience and position their products.

ARK Digital is another big company in Fayetteville that’s using the power of AI to change the shape and trajectory of their marketing company. The pros at this digital marketing firm utilize ML and data analytics to help companies tailor their products and services and target their audiences with near-pinpoint accuracy. They’re successfully using AI to analyze operational data, identify bottlenecks, and improve a company’s overall efficiency.

And in Conway, Insight is delivering IT solutions to companies using the power of AI. The team at Insight leverages AI and data analytics to allow companies to make more informed decisions and solve their most pressing business problems faster than ever before.

You can’t talk about innovations in AI in Arkansas without highlighting the exciting research activities happening in the state’s biggest universities. For example, in the UAMS College of Medicine, researchers are exploring how AI is changing the face of biomedicine and health. Its Creativity Hub for Artificial Intelligence (CHAI) is where top researchers and scientists gather to define how AI and ML are revolutionizing medicine and healthcare.

And in UA Little Rock, a $2.2 million grant is allowing Bastazo, a university startup, to partner with Israeli-based Salvador Technologies to develop AI-automation and rapid-recovery hardware to protect industrial control systems from cyberattacks. The technology, which is known as Extracted Configuration Security (XCS), uses AI and advanced analytics to offer preemptive threat detection that protects the critical infrastructures of companies across a wide range of industries.

AI Salary in Arkansas

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals working in artificial intelligence, who fall under the BLS category of computer information and research scientists, earned a median salary of $136,620 as of May 2022. Those with little to no experience earned about $99,410 during this time, while seasoned professionals, and those who hold graduate degrees in the field, earned about $232,010.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Master’s Degree and Certificate Courses in Arkansas and Online

Degree and certificate programs in artificial intelligence range from bachelor’s degrees that provide aspiring computer scientists and engineers with a foundation in this emerging field, to master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs that provide students with an in-depth examination of the field as it relates to robotics, engineering, computer science, and more.

Though AI degree options in Arkansas are still under development, many colleges and universities across the country are offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in artificial intelligence online. These programs allow students to earn their degree in AI, regardless of their professional and personal demands or their geographical limitations.

Bachelor’s degrees in artificial intelligence are usually offered as part of computer science, engineering, or data science programs, although there is a growing number of stand-alone AI bachelor’s degrees available. Largely housed in the computer science departments of universities, these programs provide students with a foundation in math and science, with the AI core covering topics like algorithms, machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision.

Master’s degrees in AI may be designed as computer science, robotics, engineering, data analytics, applied digital technology programs or offered as stand-alone AI programs. Because of the interdisciplinary – and emerging – nature of the field of AI, you’ll find these degrees offered through colleges of engineering, computer science, business, arts and sciences, and more.

Many programs also offer options for specialization. For example, an MS in AI may offer concentration options in data science, robotics, cybersecurity, and computer vision, while an MS in AI Engineering may offer concentration options in chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and civil and environmental engineering.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for computer information and research scientists. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, CareerOneStop. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed November 2023.