The ability to manipulate data and convert to knowledge is critical to new discovery and innovation. As a result, we see the emergence of new approaches in computing. In practice, Machine learning has evolved as an interdisciplinary field that integrates approaches from such data-analysis fields as statistics, data mining, pattern recognition, and predictive analytics.
Recently, as I was doing some extensive reading on the future impacts recent technologies will have on human endeavors, the frequency/occurrence of few terms gave me the direction technology is tilting towards: AI, Data Science, Machine Learning, Deep Learning.
I have done some extensive work on Natural Language processing to know that the future is for those that can manipulate data without restriction to any structural formulation.
The journey wasn’t that easy initially, if I remember very well, the journey started in February 2018. A close friend of mine uploaded our photo on Facebook and the system automatically recognized my face and singled me out amidst 5 people in the picture and asked if I wanted to be tagged in the picture (it said, ‘Want to be tagged in this picture’)!
It triggered my interest, and if you know me well, I love it when computers behave like human beings. I started digging to find out that a machine learning system checks and learns the pattern of all the pictures I’ve uploaded over the years. Well, one can say, they don’t have the sole right to do that, but I was blown away by the sheer beauty and power of the technology. It should be noted also that all users signed up to improve the system, and they can simply use that as an excuse for using people’s information to develop a larger information system.
Fast-forward to 2019, though my initial interest was pictorial machine learning, the technology is beyond picture matching. It encompasses all data and Rosetta is the magic behind the machine learning.
Now we extend this to other areas of human endeavor.
We have self-driving cars. What it means is that very soon the need for human drivers will be eliminated. With great companies like Uber, Tesla, Lyft, and Google pumping millions of dollars for the development of self-driving cars, the research in this field is among the hottest that there is right now. Such cars will be powered by Reinforcement Learning algorithms at its core. Once a solid learning algorithm is in place, humanity will be able to avoid millions of deaths per year that are caused by road accidents.
The roads will be safer and the problem of traffic jams can also be eliminated, but I fear, Nigeria has a long way to go in this area.
A more realistic application for the Nigerian environment is the speech recognition system. This type of system is already in place in some hi-Tech and multinational companies.
As mentioned above, Siri, Google Assistant and maybe Cortana are all powered by Natural Language Processing(NLP) based AI systems. Everything revolves around NLP, so the future belongs to people that are very competent in NLP.
AI is a technology that has shown great promise in a variety of fields (Healthcare, Government, Transportation, and Education). At the cost of repeating myself, I would say that anyone with the right mindset and will to put in the effort can learn AI and contribute the share in the development of human society.
If you are just starting, you do not need a masters or Ph.D. degree from a university that will cost you a fortune. You can get started almost for free. There are numerous platforms like Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, etc that are going to get you started in this field in no time.