July 1, 2020 Author: Matthew Renze

Why is education important during the AI tech revolution?

Over the past few millennia, humanity has gone through several major technological revolutions. During the agricultural revolution, we had to learn how to farm, domesticate animals, and use a plow. During the industrial revolution, we had to learn how to use steam engines, machinery, and electricity. During the information revolution, we had to learn how to use telephones, computers, and software.

As we enter the next major technology revolution, humanity will once again need to update its basic skill set to function in this new AI-powered world.

So how should you educate yourself about AI?

Here are my top five recommendations:

Learn the Basics of AI

Just like the previous technology revolutions, everyone will need a basic level of AI literacy in order to function in this new world. No matter who you are or how deeply you plan to work with AI, you need to learn the basics of AI.

You need to know what is real versus what is hype. You need to understand the basics of artificial intelligence, data science, and machine learning. In addition, you should also learn the difference between the various types of AI like Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) vs. Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI).

Choose an Objective with AI

What do you actually want to do with AI? Your learning path will be significantly different depending upon what your objective is. So, you need to decide what you want to do with AI in order to decide on the best learning path.

Do you want to train new AI models to automate manual tasks? Do you want to build AI applications using existing AI models to solve new business problems? Or do you just want to increase your productivity using off-the-shelf AI tools? Each of these objectives entails a completely different learning path.

Get the Right Training

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all training for your AI education. It all depends on which objective you chose above. Once you’d decided on your objective, you will need to identify the best curriculum for that objective.

If you want to train new AI models, you’ll need training in both data science and machine learning. If you want to develop AI applications, you’ll need programming skills and the ability to work with pre-trained AI models. If you just want to use pre-built AI tools, you just need basic AI literacy and training on each specific tool.

Practice Your Skills

No matter which career path and training you choose, you’re going to need lots of practice. It’s one thing to know what a neural network is. However, it’s an entirely different thing to be able to train a neural network to detect fraud.

You can participate in online competitions, like Kaggle competitions, to apply your skills while learning from your peers. You can create or maintain an open-source project to share your knowledge with others while you learn. Or you can find low-risk projects at work to practice your new skills and build your portfolio.

Choose Reliable Sources

Unfortunately, there are some people out there that are just trying to take advantage of you to take your money. So you want to avoid the AI hucksters, charlatans, and snake-oil salesmen out there. Look out for people trying to dazzle you with big hype, buzzwords, and grand or unrealistic promises.

Instead, you want to find trusted sources for all your information and training. So be sure to check your source’s credentials, qualifications, and expertise. You want to make sure you’re getting the most value for your investment in your AI education.

To continue your AI education, please be sure to check out my free online course: Artificial Intelligence: Preparing Your Career for AI.

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