You enter a dark room and decide NOT to turn on the lights.
Do many of us act like this as regards to Artificial Intelligence (AI) ? It’s rise has been compared to the advent of electricity.
You could be the CEO of an organization, the functional head of a department / vertical / division, a veteran executive wanting to know more about AI or a newcomer just starting your career. Regardless of your professional position, AI may appear intimidating.
In January 2019, I published an article Can I get a rAIse ? where I highlighted that for a simple human task such as image classification,a Stanford AI project showed that AI was over a 1000 times faster and 30 times cheaper than a human worker.
Ten months later the same Stanford research group reported that the speed benchmark for the same task has jumped by 4x. About 4000 times (4390 times to be precise) faster than human beings. This is a obviously a huge jump in performance and further tips the scale in favor of AI against humans on this specific task.
So, the key takeaway is that AI is here and now. It is not a flash in the pan; it is here to stay and dominate. Like the march of time, the trend is irreversible which some of us choose to ignore. The only way forward is to accept it’s inevitability for certain tasks and use it to augment our own individual & collective intelligence. The term ‘Augmented Intelligence’ is hence a more apt description of AI.
Thankfully, for many of us, the word ‘How’ has now been added to the earlier question — Do I start my AI journey ?
Start small. As a first step, consolidate and organize your own personal and professional data. Remember, AI gets it’s intelligence only because it has learnt from the tonnes and tonnes of data thrown at it. So, if a machine can learn from data, a human mind (which is far smarter and more flexible than any machine) can definitely learn much faster.
For organizational leaders, make AI as your digital servant. Create an AI layer on top of all the information systems of your organization. Strive to replace all manual recording of data of your formal and informal interactions with your organizational assets and stakeholders with digital equivalents. This will give you fresh organization specific oxygen like data every day to become AI smart.
For individuals, use your smartphone smartly. It is millions of times more powerful than ALL of NASA’s computing capacity in 1969, when Apollo 11 carried Neil Armstrong and his team to the moon. Our mobile device has become our constant must-have companion. Unsurprisingly, the apps inside it are getting smarter and smarter due to AI. Learn how to leverage the insights offered by these AI powered apps. Instead of relying on memory to locate information, use the search function in your apps. You will be amazed at how quickly you can locate some items. Whether it is for composing an email or searching for directions or automatically tagging our photographs or creating animations, apps are getting AI facilitated every day. They just seem to work better and better.
A small example — my wife gifted me the following books on my birthday last month.
When I search my phone Photos app for the word ‘gift’ or ‘ribbon’, it’s AI capabilities display the above photograph. Seems magical, isn’t it ?
The conclusion : Never stop learning.
Risto Siilasmaa, the Charimain of the Board of Directors of Nokia took time out to learn AI. India’s billionaire philanthropist & WIPRO’s Chairman Mr Azim Premji, on whom I wrote an article some time back, used to spend two hours daily on self-learning.
The field of AI is not even a decade old in terms of contemporary developments. Yet it is projected to be worth billions of dollars in the years to come. It is still not too late to get started with many free high quality online resources — books, videos, podcasts, etc. that can get you started on the AI journey. You may check out our resource Easyai.in on which I periodically post my AI articles.
Recognizing the need for AI in your work / field is the first step. And while your domain knowledge in your field of expertise will hold you in good stead, AI can take your efficiency & impact to another level of sophistication. The ROI (Return on Investment) for you will be huge.
PS : AI is not yet perfect. When I search for ‘Books’ in my phone, the above photograph is not shown. So, AI has some way to go. Babies today learn much faster than the world’s smartest AI. So, we still have some time before it gets it’s act together. But that day will not be too far. That is a bet. So, take your baby step today.
“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly” — Patrick Overton, The Learning Tree.