June 25, 2012 • 10:51 am

Between teaching cars to drive themselves and driving cars to photograph your street, roboticist and articificial intelligence researcher Sebastian Thrun has made quite a name for himself at Stanford and Google.

Now he would like to make his name in your living room by teaching you and 160,000 others statistics all at the same time.

Over the next seven weeks, starting today: “you’ll be empowered to use all of the basic tools of statistics yourself, you’ve used them yourself, you’ve solved interesting problems, it will forever change the way you look at data.”

All this is free, can be done at your own pace, and requires no previous knowledge of statistics.

It’s part of his Udacity project to “democratise education,” and as the Royal Statistics Society says:

“Just consider what the implications would be if he succeeds. It would mean that over the 7-week course, for every practicing statistician in the US there would be more than 8 Udacity students, from every corner of the world, learning statistics. It would mean that the students of ST101 would out-number the populations of Greenland, the Cayman Islands, and Liechtenstein combined. It would mean that, if Thrun read at a pace of one name per second, he would need 4 hours and 27 minutes to read through his entire class roster!”

So if reading Full Fact has made you think you might like to know more about how to weigh up statistics, you’ll never have a better chance than right now.

To find out more or sign up, visit the Intro to Statistics – Making Decisions Based on Data page at Udacity.

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