In the word of copy writing and advertising, the most important part is the headline. The second most important part is the first sentence. The third most important part is the second sentence. etc.... If the first sentence doesn't grab the audience, then you've lost. Right now your first sentence, paragraph doesn't mention anything about AI, the program you are applying to, anything you've done, or anything you want to do. You've already lost me. Start with the most important thing - "I, Cole, want to study AI at [insert name of program] because I want to do [X] by learning [Y - which is something the program is known for or at least has classes in]" Alright, not a "show-stopper" but at least without investing any more time into your statement, I at least know what you a) care about, b) that you'd bothered to look at the program page, and c) that you might actually benefit from attending the program.
At this point, all I know is that you've done something trivial. Then you start with being a chemical engineer and tell me how the job sucked and how you were intellectually bored. Then you mention that you "managed to hack together a barely adequate Visual Basic"... Whoa, so far two very negative things have popped up in your first two paragraphs. Also, this doesn't put you in the best light and doesn't mention a summary of yourself, your interests, motivations, undergraduate career, or anything else other than to say what your major was and some job that you thought sucked that has no application or relation to AI.
Alright, we now have the first mention of AI and why you are interested in it - power of automation. It might be worth cutting the first two paragraphs and starting here because this actually tells us something about you and why you want to do AI. On the other hand, this tells me nothing -> "Artificial Intelligence is a critical tool for this future and am excited to develop a foundation with advanced study in AI and become a contributing member of this rapidly growing community." AI is a huge field (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence#Goals) and so saying AI is a critical tool and that you want to develop a foundation doesn't tell us anything. Give us something to grasp - you mentioned power of automation - can you tie it to one of the broad AI goals or even one of the classes that the program offers?