Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Are machines going to take over humanity and seize Mother Earth as we know it? Is that what we’re heading towards with all the cutting edge technology in today’s world? Would a robot replace me and make me obsolete in the future? If you’re a skeptical and have absolutely no idea how artificial intelligence and machine learning works, keep reading. 

So what is AI and ML?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are usually used interchangeably in today’s technological world. At its very core, highly skilled computer geeks write some lines of code which help to teach the computer anything they want to teach. It works in a very similar way humans work. Remember the hot pot of boiling water your mother told you not to touch but you still did so anyway? What happened after that? A quick reflex forcing you to pull back your finger in a jiffy! 

Exactly like that, we can teach computers and machines to behave and respond a certain way. Only they listen to what we tell them. The computer geeks train them using lines of code that they call ‘models’ alongside a huge amount of data which the model uses to learn any specific information about the data. For example, if I wanted to make an application which could tell if a certain individual in a picture is a male of a female, I would provide thousands of labelled pictures of male and female humans to help the application ‘learn’ the difference between the two genders. Then, given a completely new image of a human face, the application should be able to identify it as a male or a female human being. Exciting right?!

How is all this relevant to me?

You might be wondering as to how is all this relevant to me, after all, I already know my gender.  Well, AI and ML are in play all around us! Do you notice how Facebook now suggests that you tag your best friend in that selfie you just uploaded? Yeah, that’s classic ML right there. Their model has learned how your BFF looks like from all the existing pictures on his/her profile and now knows exactly what your BFF looks like. Crazy right? 

Even our latest phones have the capacity to make use of artificial intelligence even though they can fit in the palm of our hands. Do you notice how your keyboard now suggests the next words as you type? How, after a while, it can even suggest slang words which you use very often? That’s ML at its finest! Got you thinking yet?

If not, here’s another example of how AI is such a huge part of our lives today. Try googling something on your phone. Now, ask your friend to google the same thing. Chances are, both of you will get a different set of pages in your search results. Why? Because Google uses your data to optimize the search results for you based off of your most searched item, the kinds of things you like and don’t like. The results vary even more if you’re in a different geography.

Are humans going to go obsolete?

Yes and no. Yes because repetitive tasks can be performed by machines in a much faster and error free manner. However, we still need humans to maintain and upgrade these machines. Yes there might be some areas where machines will replace humans, but since we need humans to optimize these models, no we won’t be replaced my machines. 

I want to learn AI and ML. What do I do?

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is the hottest domain for the 21st century with its demand ever increasing and the supply being relatively low. Most of the first world countries including the US, UK and multiple European countries are aggressively looking for people who possess the necessary skillset. 

Jobs in artificial intelligence and machine learning typically have the titles such as Data Scientist, Data Engineer, AI developer and so on. Mostly because this field heavily relies on data, most jobs will have data in the title. In today’s world, data is currency. You would need to possess excellent coding skills, understand calculus and probability, be great at communicating and visualizing your model and have a deep understanding of the domain you’re working on such as finance, health etc. 

Numerous universities offer graduate and post graduate programs in the field. You can also do online certification programs offered by said universities as well.

Also, read about 10 Jobs that will be Soon Replaced by AI

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