Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic for quite some time now. While it might seem that it has only been a few years since the topic gained some traction, the reality is something different. We have to go way back to the early 20th century to find the roots of AI. However, some myths regarding mechanical men in ancient Greece and Egypt exist too. 

This technology has grown over the years and promises to only develop further. Furthermore, pop-culture and other media consistently warn people regarding how AI will take over their jobs. So, what is the right time to start learning AI or should one even bother learning it? This article briefly explains what AI is and why individuals should be familiar with and learn it.

History of Artificial Intelligence

As mentioned above, multiple myths and rumors are surrounding the existence of humanoids in ancient Greece. However, as there is no concrete evidence surrounding those facts, we will have to jump directly to the early 20th century to find out the roots of AI. The first recorded work in the field of AI is credited to Warren McCulloch and Walter Pits in 1943. They had proposed a model of artificial neurons.

Then another breakthrough came through the hands of Alan Turing, an English Mathematician. He is renowned for pioneering Machine Learning and for proposing the “Turing Test”. The test basically, checks a machine’s ability to exhibit human-like intelligent behavior.

During the 60s and 70s, the first chatbots and humanoid robots came into existence. Then after the AI winter, intelligent agents came to rise. The most famous of them being the IBM Deep Blue. In the year 1997, Deep Blue became the first computer to beat a world chess champion. Since then the technology has only risen in prominence. Major software powerhouses have already integrated AI into their systems and now are further developing the technology.

What artificial intelligence is & what it’s not limited to?

For those who have known AI through popular media only, they might think that AI just means humanoid robots that showcase human existence. However, the truth is far from it. AI does deal with humanoid, but it is not limited to just that. As a matter of fact, general intelligence in a machine is the ultimate goal of AI.

If not just robots, what is AI then? Well, to put it simply, AI is a technology that aims to replicate human intelligence in machines by applying various algorithms. Basically, the aim is to make machines think similarly to humans and behave rationally.

There are two types of AI: Narrow and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). For instance, the IBM Watson of Google Search are some of the examples of Narrow AI. Narrow AI refers to the machines that perform a specific task extremely well. They are the results of the breakthrough in Machine Learning and Deep Learning.

Now, Artificial General Intelligence is what AI engineers want to achieve ultimately. It is also referred to as Strong AI and it is designed to work or act like humans in all conditions.

Some other terms usually come along with AI such as Machine Learning or NLP. Now, these terms are closely related to each other but mean different things. Machine Learning or ML is basically a way to achieve artificial intelligence. It uses various statistical tools in application to improve their decision making and predictive accuracy over time. Algorithms are trained in order to create a model that is able to find different patterns in our data set.

Then there is NLP, which is Natural Language Processing. It is the branch of AI that combines computational linguistics, a rule-based model of human language, with deep learning models. It is used to make an application respond like humans to text or voice data. NLP is mainly used for translation, chatbots, social media sentiment analysis, text summarization et cetera.

AI for future

AI is an enormous field. It consists of various tools and platforms that are designed to make repetitive tasks easier for us. So, at some point in the future, AI might replace human jobs. Although there are some ethical issues related to it, there is no denying that it is the sad truth. As a matter of fact, some jobs such as the help desks in online platforms are already being handled by chatbots. So, why should you contribute or make an effort in learning about a field that might take your job away in the future? That’s because, as mentioned above, it is a vast field and we want to make our lives easier for us.

To be equipped with the skill for the future, learning AI is vital. AI can be applied to different fields. The camera on your smartphone uses AI technology and similarly, your search engines use it too. Learning AI will future-proof your career. That’s because you will have the skill to develop AI-enabled products.

As AI can be applied to different fields, one may incorporate it in their startup or their existing app. In the coming years, technological innovations will continue to boom, and they will not be without AI. You can start learning this technology right away if you have a grasp of some programming language. You can then integrate AI technology in your or some other existing products.

Research done by McKinsey Global Institute points out that AI will be a major contributor to the global economy. Furthermore, at least 70 percent of the organization in the world will adopt at least one type of AI technology by 2030. So, for a programmer or for any other professional for that matter, learning AI will only solidify and help lengthen their career. Huge corporations are continuously posting jobs for AI engineers, ML specialists, and whatnot. Moreover, these are some of the most sought after and high paying jobs. Thus, it is vital for people, especially programmers to be accustomed to integrating AI in their products.