Blog: How to survive and thrive during the AI revolution

The world as we know it is going to change dramatically. The best we can do is to embrace this change and take an active part in it.

A flying Aero 4.0A flying Aero 4.0 (Source: AeroMobil)

Martin Spano is the author of Artificial Intelligence in a Nutshell, a book that explores the mystified subject of artificial intelligence (AI) with simple, non-technical language. Spano’s passion for AI began after he watched 2001: A Space Odyssey, but he insists this ever-changing technology is not just the subject for sci-fi novels and movies; artificial intelligence is present in our everyday lives.

The story of Victor Frankenstein

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In 1815, one of the most significant volcanic eruptions in known history took place on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The sound of the eruption was recorded almost 1000 miles away. This explosion had a devastating effect on not only the surrounding area, but also the world, causing very cold weather in Europe for the next couple of years. It was during this time when Mary Shelley, her lover and future husband Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron, a leading British romantic poet, travelled through Europe and settled for a few days near Geneva. Even in Switzerland, which is usually very sunny in summer, it was raining almost without interruption with temperatures significantly below the longtime averages. Rather than going outside for a beautiful walk, they stayed inside and started their own small writing competition on the theme of ghost stories.

Shelley remembered her recent trip to Gerstein, Germany, situated only a few miles near Frankenstein Castle, where she heard about an alchemist doing various occult experiments. She put her thoughts down in a story called “Frankenstein”, originally titled “The Modern Prometheus”. In the story, a gifted unorthodox scientist Victor Frankenstein creates a living creature from the body parts of deceased people only to regret the creation, leaving the monster alone in the hope that it will die by itself after a time. However, the creature lives on and after being rejected by Victor and society in general, he takes revenge on everyone Victor loves. The story ends with both Victor and his creature dying.

Job opportunities

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Do not be scared by this famous novel. Work in the AI industry is neither occult nor has such dangerous consequences, at least not in the foreseeable future. On the contrary, the industry is full of exciting and well-paid job opportunities. The average salary for a job in artificial intelligence ranges from $100,000 to $150,000 per year. If you are a college student thinking about working in the industry, then look for a university of your choice offering computer science. Most universities with computer science have study programs on artificial intelligence. If you are a working computer science professional like a programmer, you can easily extend your education with artificial intelligence essentials by taking courses. There is a plethora of them online, and you can probably find some in your local area. If you are already a professional in another field, do not despair. If you have an economic background, you can extend your knowledge to work as a data scientist as this job requires less of a computer science background and more understanding of the statistics. Contrary to popular belief, work in artificial intelligence does not generally require a Ph.D. degree, but it might be of preference.

Here is an overview of employment possibilities in the field. The countries with the most job opportunities are the United States, thanks to its long history of research dominance, and China, because its goal is to be a leading country in artificial intelligence in 2030.

Data Scientist

A data Scientist is someone who extracts useful information from data. Every company nowadays generates vast amounts of data, so-called big data. This data is of little to no value if left in its original raw state. A data scientist, therefore, needs to have programming skills and good knowledge of machine learning, statistical analysis and mathematics, specifically linear algebra and calculus, which enables them to perform data collection, cleansing and wrangling.

Machine Learning Engineer

A machine learning engineer cooperates closely with data scientists. They take the model created by data scientists and use it for production; that means they write software using the programming language of the company’s preference.

Software Developer

Being a software developer in the field of artificial intelligence brings about some specifics. A good understanding of the area, similar to working in other industries, is necessary. While programmers can use practically any programming language to develop artificial intelligence, software developers should have working knowledge of Python, R, Prolog or Lisp. Java, similar to other industries, is also widely used.

Robotics Scientist

As the name suggests, a robotics scientist works on the design, development and creation of robotic systems. This job is ideal for practical people who like to work with concrete things rather than abstract software. These engineers work with computer-aided drafting and design software tools and spend a lot of time testing the robots in a laboratory.

Our future

The story of Garry Kasparov (continuation)

After Garry Kasparov lost his match against Deep Blue, he quickly understood that the era of human dominance in chess is over. With ever increasing computational power, it was only a matter of time before almost any chess program can beat any computer chess master. However, there are merits at which a human is still better at the game, like tactics or strategizing. So he introduced "advanced chess". In this extension of classical chess, the human player let the computer explore the candidate’s moves and then decide which one to choose. Advanced chess elevated the game to heights never seen before.

A few months ago, my first child was born. Everyone in the family expresses their own hopes for what job she will choose in the future. My mom, being a doctor, would like her to study medicine. Other family members have their own ideas.

The future is much more interesting. When she grows up, she will probably have a job that does not exist yet — something like a "human-brain interface fine-tuner" or something else that seems like it’s from science fiction. She will not have a driver’s license as at that time, because driving a car will be considered a dangerous undertaking. She might not even own a car as companies will offer a fleet of vehicles on demand. She will rarely buy a dress in a shop as she will be able to download dress templates on the internet and let her “dress-printer” print the dress overnight. She will rarely travel as virtual reality is indistinguishable from the real world, and she could virtually visit any place on earth in the comfort and safety of her home. Even if she ends up thousands of miles from her friends, she could meet them by projecting her "real-feel" image on their living room "remote-life-projector".

The world as we know it is going to change dramatically. The best we can do is to embrace this change and take an active part in it. It might be a very bright future indeed. Everything depends on the correct political and economic approaches. The more of us who understand and think about the forthcoming changes, the better the future we might create together.

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