One of the most frequently asked questions in the student community, especially the undergraduates is “Why should I learn AI ML basics?”. It’s a genuine question and deserves a diligent attempt.
SwissCognitive Guest Blogger: Utpal Chakraborty, Chief Digital Officer, Allied Digital Services Ltd., AI & Quantum Researcher – “Foundation for the Digital Journey of a Bank” – “Why should I learn AI ML basics?”
The obvious reason for many of the confusions centring AI is because of the fact that – “AI is mostly invisible to us” except for very rarely we get an opportunity to be face-to-face with AI when it pops up in front of us in the form of a Chat Bot or a Virtual Assistant. But the impact of AI in our lives today is unimaginable. In fact, it will not be very wrong if I say- AI is your “Genie” fulfilling many of your crazy wishes all-day like an unsung hero.
Let me establish what I mean. Your smart phone is loaded with a ton of AI algorithms, the very core of the operating systems – Android and iOS today is fully powered with Machine Learning. All the features of the Google and Apple suite of services that you constantly use 24×7 are bundled with AI & ML. Most of the different Apps in your smart phone either has a local ML module running at edge or helping it siting at the cloud. Your Search Engine, Navigation App, Shopping Apps, Social Media Apps, Messaging Apps and even your Dating & Matrimonial uses Machine Learning models to provide you enhanced experience and personalized contents and recommendations.
Now the questing is – So what? If AI is embodied in everything that we use in our lives, does that mean I as a common man need to learn AI? Answer is NO, not at all. But if I am a professional or aspiring to be one, then the answer will be the reverse one – YES, you need to know AI irrespective of your business, domain, or industry.
Because AI is proliferating like a wildfire cross all industries and domains. Let’s understand why. With the digital revolution, almost all the physical services have been converted into digital and has been delivered to the customers & stakeholders through digital means irrespective of B2B or B2C nature of business. With this aggressive digitization, almost every business has now been transformed into a Data-Extensive-Business (DEB). In an environment like this where Data plays the key role, AI is inevitable. Because as an enterprise, your Data holds no value except for just archival if you don’t have a mechanism to get some inference out of your stored data and utilize it to your business goals. That’s where a technology like AI comes in very handy, this cognitive technology has the capability to understand the hidden meaning from your Data and bring “Early Intel” that can be a gamechanger for your business. What else you need? In today’s business world, intel is key that provides upper hand over your competitors. This Early Intel is called “Predictive Analytics”. Now you tell me, which industry or business would like to miss out of this opportunity of getting an early indication of “what’s going to work and what not”. That’s the reason businesses – small or big, B2B or B2C, local or global, traditional or modern, everyone is after AI irrespective of the nature of their businesses. In other words, AI is like a ‘Young Energetic Scientific Astrologer’ for your businesses, most of the times the predictions work pretty well and the best part is predictions are explainable (Explainable AI).
If you are a college or university going student or scholar, aspiring to land into a job in another few years’ time, knowledge of AI is a must for you. If you are into a technology stream, AI is inescapable for you irrespective of whether you get a job in IT or Non-IT tech job. For students with Non-Tech streams, basic understanding of AI is going to be an added advantage to getting a job and flourishing their career.
Let’s take a classic example and the same can be extrapolated to other scenarios – A fresh management graduate gets appointed as a business analyst in a bank. From the 2nd day of his new job, he starts interacting with the IT division of the bank for giving them some requirement for building a new application or enhancement of an existing application with some new features. Considering current circumstances, almost all newly proposed applications will certainly have some elements of AI that’s going to be ingested to make it intuitive or to bring enhanced customer experiences. In this classic scenario, the newly appointed business analyst will sound utterly idiotic in the discussions with IT if he or she doesn’t have any idea of AI or Machine Learning. The same goes if he or she is been asked to run an analytics & visualization of data to generate a report for his immediate boss. Isn’t it true? He or she need not have to be an expert on AI but at least some literacy will make the conversation much more meaningful when a situation of such kind arises. And this is very common situation in all industries and all jobs, and I am sure most of you will agree with me on this.
So, to conclude, learning AI ML is not a choice for the college & university students today, it’s a mere necessity, it’s a must. And it’s not difficult, nether access to learning materials is very difficult. If you ask me, it’s very easy, anyone can learn. Also I would like to counter the myth and assure you “Good in Maths is NOT at all a prerequisite for learning and mastering AI”.