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Review of Demystifying Artificial Intelligence on Skillshare

Are you trying to find a brief introduction to get started with machine learning? Read our review of Christian Heilmann's course on Skillshare to see if this is a good fit for you.

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Demystifying Artificial Intelligence on Skillshare: Our Verdict (2023)


4.0 / 5

Looking for a course to ease you into the machine learning scene? Christian Heilmann’s Demystifying Artificial Intelligence on offers a first look into the world of artificial intelligence. In a short one-hour journey, it introduces practical uses of machine learning in everyday situations, ideal for beginners. Although easy to follow, those seeking deeper technical insights might find it a bit light. This course stands as a good first step into machine learning and its interaction with our daily tech experience.


  • No prior experience required
  • Taught by Microsoft’s senior developer


  • Limited technical depth
  • Lack of practical exercises


The Skillshare course “Demystifying Artificial Intelligence: Understanding Machine Learning” provides a concise one-hour journey into the domain of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). This course aims to demystify the basic premises of ML, its applications, and its intersection with human engagements and modern technology.

But does this compact course serve as a good primer for your foray into ML and AI? This review aspires to shed light on the course content, Christian Heilmann’s teaching approach, and the learner experience.

Table of Contents

Cover image for the Skillshare course 'Demystifying Artificial Intelligence: Understanding Machine Learning' by Christian Heilmann
Demystifying Artificial Intelligence: Understanding Machine Learning by Christian Heilmann on Skillshare

Course overview

Demystifying Artificial Intelligence is a beginner-friendly course taught by Christian Heilmann, a senior developer at Microsoft. Spread across 12 lessons in a concise 58-minute duration, the course aims to break down the basics of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence.

The journey begins with dispelling common myths about machine learning and then moves on to exploring its capabilities and limitations. Learners are then introduced to tools that integrate machine learning into products. A notable part of the course is dedicated to ethical considerations, encouraging learners to think about the broader implications of ML and AI. Toward the end, a hands-on class project invites learners to share their favorite ML tools or resources, promoting interactive learning.

Although brief, this course offers a glimpse into the ML landscape, making it a suitable choice for developers, designers, or anyone curious about ML and AI. Through Christian Heilmann’s guidance, learners are expected to gain an understanding of how ML interacts with our daily tech experiences and the ethical thoughtfulness it requires.

Who is Christian Heilmann?

Christian Heilmann, with a solid 20-year background in web development, now serves as a Principal Program Manager at Microsoft, extending his expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Originating from Berlin, Germany, Christian is also known for his contributions to JavaScript through his books and the Developer Advocacy Handbook.

By enrolling in this course, students get to learn from an expert, gaining firsthand insights with extensive tech industry experience and burgeoning knowledge in the AI and ML domain.

Course instructor Christian Heilmann, senior developer at Microsoft
Course instructor: Christian Heilmann, senior developer at Microsoft

Target audience

This course is a good fit for beginners curious about machine learning and artificial intelligence. It’s particularly beneficial for developers and designers interested in integrating ML into their projects. With a brief one-hour format, it’s also suitable for individuals with tight schedules. However, those seeking deep technical insights might find it less satisfying and basic.

Alternatives and complements to this course

While the “Demystifying Artificial Intelligence: Understanding Machine Learning” course lays a solid foundation in ML and AI, diversifying your learning journey could be beneficial. For a deeper dive into machine learning, Coursera’s “Supervised Machine Learning: Regression and Classification,” a collaboration between DeepLearning.AI and Stanford Online, is a stellar choice. Alternatively, Udemy’s “Python for Data Science and Machine Learning Bootcamp” emphasizes practical coding skills. LinkedIn Learning’s “Artificial Intelligence Foundations: Machine Learning” is another beginner-friendly course exploring AI foundations. Despite these options, Christian Heilmann’s course on Skillshare offers a well-rounded, engaging introduction to ML and AI, uniquely structured for practical insights. Being a shorter course relative to others, it can be completed in a short time, making it a notable consideration for beginners.

Course content and review

Chris Heilmann’s “Demystifying Artificial Intelligence: Understanding Machine Learning” on Skillshare serves as a practical bridge to understanding machine learning and AI through a user interface lens. His teaching narrative is well-structured and gradually unfolds the layers of AI and ML, making the course accessible to learners at various stages.

Offering a glimpse into the content of each lesson
Here's a peek into what each lesson holds:

Lesson 1 – Introduction

Chris embarks on the course with a fresh perspective on the importance of ML and AI in interface design, aiming for a more human-centric approach. His call for queries and discussions promises an interactive and insightful learning journey ahead.

Lesson 2 – What is Machine Learning

Chris simplifies machine learning concepts using relatable analogies, easing learners into their potential impacts and real-world applications. The Terminator versus Star Trek comparison is particularly engaging.

Lesson 3 - How We Teach Machines

By introducing tools like Google’s AutoDraw and discussing reCAPTCHA’s evolution, Chris elegantly unravels how machines learn from data, keeping the intrigue alive.

Lesson 4 - Machine Learning to Help Humans

Real-world applications of ML, especially in aiding the visually impaired, are spotlighted. Chris motivates learners to view AI and ML as tools for enhancing user satisfaction, adding a humanistic touch to the technological discourse.

Lesson 4: Video lecture on machine learning designed to assist humans
Lesson 4: Video lecture on machine learning to help humans

Lesson 5 – Tools for Machine Learning

This lesson provides a fair starting point for learners interested in practical ML applications. Although a deeper dive into the pros and cons of each platform would have been beneficial, it lays a good foundation for real-world application.

Lesson 6 – Visual Uses

The shift towards visual communications is highlighted, emphasizing the importance of computer vision. The instructor introduces the Microsoft Cognitive Services APIs, focusing on the Vision AI APIs. With practical demonstrations, the lesson explores real-world applications like the How-Old demo, showcasing the potential of facial recognition and age estimation technologies.

Lesson 7 - Speaking Human

This lesson gently navigates the complex waters of language recognition, making the subject less intimidating. The Text Analytics API demonstration is a practical touch.

Lesson 8 – Audio and Video

The lesson explores the futuristic appeal and challenges of speech recognition. The practical demonstrations of various APIs and the discussion on ethical considerations provide a balanced view on deploying speech recognition technologies.

Lesson 9 – Personalizing Your Machine Learning

Customization in ML and AI is explored, highlighting its significance in enhancing user experience, and is well-captured. The discussion around bee species recognition is both engaging and insightful.

Lesson 9: Video lecture on personalizing machine learning techniques
Lesson 9: Video lecture on personalizing your machine learning

Lesson 10 – Ethics of Machine Learning

Chris shifts the lens to the ethical landscape of AI and ML, discussing developer responsibilities and bias mitigation. The emphasis on user feedback and ethical technology deployment makes this lesson vitally relevant.

Lesson 11 - Machine Learning & Creativity

The fear of automation and job obsolescence is explored with an optimistic outlook. The lesson encourages embracing automation for mundane tasks, freeing up time for more human-centric activities and creative pursuits.

Lesson 12 - Final Thoughts

In a reflective conclusion, Chris invites learners to reflect, provide feedback, and take proactive steps in applying the learned concepts for better human-tech interaction.

What I liked about the course

This course on ‘Demystifying Artificial Intelligence: Understanding Machine Learning’ by Christian Heilmann has several commendable features:

1. Clarity in Explanation:

Chris has a way of breaking down complex machine learning concepts into digestible bits. His explanations are clear, and he often uses engaging analogies to make the topics relatable.

2. Practical Demonstrations:

The course is enriched with real-world examples and practical demonstrations, making the learning experience more tangible. Exploring tools like Google AutoDraw and discussing real-world applications like Seeing AI, give a practical shape to theoretical knowledge.

Overview of projects and additional resources available
Projects and resources

3. Ethical Discussions:

The segment on the Ethics of Machine Learning is an excellent addition, encouraging learners to think about the broader implications of AI and ML, which is essential in today’s tech-driven world.

4. Insightful Overview:

Despite its short duration, the course provides a valuable glimpse into several facets of machine learning and AI like visual and language recognition, personalization, and ethics. This overview sparks curiosity and lays down a pathway for further exploration in this domain

What I did not like about the course

Despite its numerous strengths, there are a couple of areas where the course could improve:

1. Depth of Tools Exploration of Tools:

While the course introduces various platforms for machine learning, a deeper dive into the pros and cons of each platform would have provided a more robust understanding.

2. More Hands-on Exercises:

Although there are practical demonstrations, more hands-on exercises, and projects would have made the learning experience more immersive and actionable.

What do others say?

Reviews on Skillshare highlight a mix of appreciation and a wish for more practical experience. Learners value clear content and quality presentation, yet some wished for live examples. The course is often described as more theoretical, likened to a TED talk, and suits those looking to absorb knowledge passively. However, those expecting a more practical introduction to AI and ML might find it lacking.

Section highlighting reviews from participants

On platforms like Class Central, reviews resonate with this, praising the course for making machine learning less mystic and more approachable, especially for beginners. The mentions of various APIs help spark ideas on real-world problem-solving using this technology, showcasing the course as a good primer for those new to the ML and AI domain.

How much does the course cost?

Courses on Skillshare can not be bought individually – they can only be accessed by signing up for a Skillshare membership. The good news? Skillshare offers e-student.org learners a full month free trial if you use our link (if not using our link, there is normally only a 7-day free trial). As virtually all Skillshare courses will take you less than a month to complete, you can in effect take this or any other Skillshare course for free – or any number of courses that you can finish in a month.

Once your free trial is over, the cost of Skillshare is $165 per year, which averages out to $13.75 per month. This gives you full access to all 34,000+ Skillshare courses. But if you're not happy to continue, you can easily cancel any time before your free trial ends – just go to your payment settings in your account.

If you have no need for a free trial, you can instead get %30 discount on your first year by using this special link instead. With this link, your first year will be just $115.50, averaging out to $9.63 per month. Note that this offer is only valid for new accounts, so it can't be combined with the 30-day free trial.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday offer 2023: Note that Skillshare is running an even better offer for the holidays, with a 50% discount on your membership (expires 30 November 2023).


Having gone through the “Demystifying Artificial Intelligence: Understanding Machine Learning” course, I find it to be a brief yet effective introduction to ML and AI. The one-hour duration makes it a convenient choice for those with tight schedules while still delivering key insights. Christian Heilmann’s expertise provides a valuable foundation. Although it may lack the depth of longer courses, its practical approach makes it worth the time for beginners. I would recommend this course to anyone looking to explore ML and AI without a significant time commitment, as it provides a good balance of essential knowledge and practical application.