Artificial Intelligence (AI) is said to be more revolutionary as an invention over discovery of electricity and the invention of the Internet. The buzz is that the manifestation of this technology is going to transform our lives in more ways than one. As artificial intelligence is making inroads into various domains of human life there is a lot of speculation about the future of humans on earth, the nature of new jobs and the imminent loss of existing jobs.
The application of artificial intelligence from health care to education, banking to transport, retail to entertainment is advancing at a fast pace. Hence, it is extremely important for students and adults to acquire skills in artificial intelligence. Training in this multidisciplinary field guarantees tremendous career opportunities. The onus of training the human resources in AI and laying out clear guidelines to tackle the downside of this technology is humungous. The universities are gradually rising up to the challenge and stitching together courses, though a lot needs to be done yet.
Artificial Intelligence is an inherently multidisciplinary field, it spans the intersection of skills in Science, Mathematics, Neuro - biology and Arts- Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology and Computers. For this reason, a lot of universities are allowing a more eclectic choice of courses leading up to a degree and offering specially designed courses in interdisciplinary studies.
Following branches of AI are making rapid inroads in the domains that directly impact our lives -
Expert Systems: It is a computer application that performs a task within a specialized domain with human expertise. The applicability of expert systems in the medical field is unlimited. One such area is medical diagnostics to predict the likelihood of a medical condition, to monitor the course of a disease, to analyze a patient’s response to treatments and to guide the selection of further tests and treatments. Expert system solutions are also successfully deployed to solve issues in the fields of architecture, archeology, commerce, trade and education.
Natural Language Processing(NLP): NLP, coupled with speech recognition, helps machines understand and interact in a natural language spoken by humans. NLP tasks include automatic text summarization, sentiment analysis, text classification and answering questions. Commercial systems like Siri, OK Google, Google Now, chat boxes, virtual assistants and spam filtering in email are few of the NLP applications.
Artificial Neural Networks (ANN): Inspired by biological neural networks, ANN is an attempt to create a network of artificial neurons working in parallel to mimic certain cognitive powers of humans. Classical AI techniques are very good at puzzle and problem solving, playing games like grandmaster-level chess, Othello and complex mathematical computations. But they perform poorly at mimicking human perception like recognizing an object, hearing etc. This is where the strength of ANN lies. An artificial neural net is designed for a specific application like pattern recognition. They are successfully deployed in industry, commerce, and finance applications.
Deep learning models based on ANN have led to cutting edge innovations in computer vision, speech recognition, robotics - popular application being self-driving vehicles. Deep learning engineers are highly sought after in industry.
Robotics : It is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering that deals with designing, building and programming robots. Until recently robots were programmed to only carry out repetitive tasks that do not require intelligence, tasks to reduce and support human actions. Nowadays, advances in robotics rely on AI algorithms to train a robot to interact with people and the world around it in intelligent ways. The use of medical robots to assist human surgeons is becoming more widespread.
Gaming : This is one industry that has explored the potential of AI to the maximum. AI has become an integral part of every computer game. AI, in combination with augmented reality and 3D has changed the face of the computer games completely. In the near future, games will be able to detect facial expressions and the behavior of the player and adapt accordingly. AI is also playing a major role in online casinos and games.
An all pervasive fear in the discussions about AI is about the possibility of machines taking over the human race and the evident loss of jobs. However Andrew Ng, a leading thinker in AI and an adjunct Professor at Stanford University believes that certain domains are more likely to be affected than the others. The call centre employees, human drivers and radiologists are most likely to be most affected. He insists that the only way to remain relevant in the job market is to embrace a life long learning and constantly upgrade skills to keep pace with the changing job profiles.
According to Andrew Ng, Artificial Intelligence is bound to affect every segment of the economy in the future. Countries that invest their resources to have a definitive framework of policies for AI and beef up plans to upgrade skills of its human resources in Artificial Intelligence are likely to reap heavy premium.
It’s essential that governments world over promote digital education, take necessary steps to encourage research in AI and train its work force to keep pace with the quickly shifting paradigm of technology.
Authored by Ms. Reshma Pise, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Engineering, Vishwakarma University.