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I'm really interested in understanding human behavior and solving problems, but I don't have extensive tech experience. Could a career in AI be right for me?

Hi! I'm a high school student trying to figure out possible career paths I would be suited for. I've always been interested in language, neuropsychology; finding a way to integrate that with upcoming tech sounds fascinating.
technology ai artificialintelligence behavior computerscience programming machinelearning tech solutions


I think so! Have you considered taking an EdX, Udemy, or Coursera online class to see if that is a right fit? Christian B.

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John’s Answer

Fascinating Question Jane,

Over the next ten years, I believe we are about to witness the world we live in entirely transformed by improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

THE IMPACT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCES IS HAVING ON OUR SOCIETY CANNOT BE IGNORED

Children today are already growing up with Artificial Intelligence assistants in their homes – Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa – to the point that you might consider their mere presence an extension of co-parenting. As voice and facial recognition continue to evolve, machine learning algorithms are going to get smarter. More and more industries are being influenced by AI, and our society as we know it is transforming.

TRANSPORTATION
The transportation industry looks like it will be the first to be completely integrated by artificial intelligence. In fact, a lot of the impact of AI is already taking place. Uber and Lyft are both working on self-driving car technology. Google will soon be releasing a GPS navigation software app called CarPool that will allow its 50-plus million users to commute to work together for a fee.

It seems that Tesla has already beaten most other competitors to market with its autopilot feature. Tesla now has over 300 million miles driven on autopilot, and all Tesla vehicles on the road today are only a software update away from fully autonomous driving capability. Tesla is also looking to disrupt the trucking industry with its new autonomous vehicle called the Semi. Walmart says it's already preordered 15 of Tesla's electric/AI-powered tractor trailers.

The automation of the ride-hailing economy is not only going to save society time, but it's also going to reduce the cost of transportation drastically. Soon enough, requesting a self-driving vehicle will cost as much as taking the bus, and driving a car is going to be as antiquated as riding a horse and buggy.

MARKETING
Advertisers are already able to predict what types of ads emotionally impact your purchasing behavior. As time goes on, ads are going to continue to become more tailored to the individual. Imagine Amazon's Alexa slipping sponsored messages into a natural conversation or personalized augmented reality billboard ads that know you by name (Remember Tom Cruise in Minority Report).

Ads are going to continue to become smarter and more embedded in our daily lives thanks to AI. Machine learning algorithms are building personality profiles on every human being. The amount of data collected by advertisers continues to grow. Related product recommendations, search results and social news feed items are all examples of places where advertisers are embedding smart ads that use AI to target you as an individual consumer.

Jane, if you want to have a competitive edge and you are willing to prepare for these changes now, there is still plenty of time to be ahead of the curve with a Marketing Degree.

Hope this was Helpful Jane
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Suddhasattwa’s Answer

Hi Jane,

Its a very interesting question.

Artificial intelligence can emulate human behaviors so of course you will shine there as you love understanding human behavior and solving their problems. But you don't have an extensive tech experience so it might keep you in back-foot because it needs needs Data science, machine learning etc.

AI is extremely broad that includes Machine learning, Natural language processing, Maths, Programming (python, C/C++/ Java)

But here's the good news: If you are not very technical and have difficulty learning them, then still you can be part of AI world as:
- there are many companies coming up with AI powered app on psychology, human behavior for kids, adults and also for elderly people. They can simple download that app and get help thru it, both free and paid version.
- Also there will a big demand/ wave where all MNC companies will start using AI for their Human Resource dept, hiring, mental health check
- Many medical facilities like clinics and hospitals will adopt AI powered app for their counseling sessions
- also for educational institutes, like school, college, universities and especially online learning sites will access their students need


So here you can play a crucial part of helping the programmer to write the logic. It will be your learnings and his programming skills behind an AI powered app.

So focus on your strength and increase your connection with the companies working on AI technology for human behavior.

Rest i leave it you to think more and find more ways as how can you overcome your technical knowledge shortfall and collaborate more with others.

All the very best Jane, AI will be the future so go for it.
Cheers,
Suddho

Thank you so much! Jane S.

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Melanie’s Answer

Hi!

AI definitely applies to that range of topics well; however, I think you would love studying psychology. Cognitive psychology mainly focuses on the study of the brain, its processes, and how it affects human actions. This field applies the bounds of human interaction with science and language. When you go into college (or if you have a chance to in high school), I'd recommend you take a few engineering related classes and a psychology elective. That will help you gauge your interest in both topics as they have great relation to your interests. Human Resources might also be a good path for your to take if you like AI as well.

Thank you! Yes, I was actually considering minoring in psychology :) Jane S.

Psychology isa great minor! I was a psychology minor and I loved it so much that I changed it to my major! Good luck with your endeavors. Melanie Deguzman

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Tyrone’s Answer

Hey Jane,

As a discretion, I have not dwelled deeply or had significant real-world experience particularly in the AI/machine learning areas of computer science. However much like most fields and areas of specialization a person could partake in the tech world, there are a plethora of open-source technologies that are provided and utilized by top tier technologies companies (ex. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, etc.). In addition, they are typically 'free' to download and to experiment on especially for just personal use. For some concrete examples, Unity (cross-platform C# game engine) is to video game development, Angular (client-side Typescript framework) is to web application/user interface, and Microsoft Azure is to cloud computing. Now specifically for your question and depending on what subset of AI you are interested in, one example technology you could look into is Amazon Sagemaker, which is a cloud platform for machine-learning. You could then try experiencing and developing yourself the most basic machine-learning application that can, as an example, teach itself how to recognize numbers on images. Then from there, you can finally expand your development to other specific topics in AI. The very good thing about these open-source technologies is they are usually well-documented and come with detailed tutorials and even step-by-step demo projects that you can follow.

If you are particularly concerned about whether or not you'll be able to have the "extensive tech" experience to have a successful career in AI or even computer science in general, I would advise to start off learning how to program using a popular-industry programming language (ex. Typescript, C#, or Phyton) and see for yourself whether you are even interested in something technical in the first place. For recommendations, Pluralsight and Linkedin Learning are what I use in my profession, however they are not free. At same time, I believe Pluralsight is offering free month of subscription for new users due to the coronavirus pandemic. I would try out a beginner course in Pluralsight or find a decent, reputable set of video tutorials on YouTube. If this sparks an interest in you, then I would advise trying out a beginner course in basic AI.

I also see you have another question regarding what major is recommended. From my experiences, usually you don't go straight to a major in AI. You would first start off in a major related to informatics and/or computer science. Once you make it through the lower division courses, you can then start to specialize and pick & choose which upper-division courses (which of course include AI) you would like to take. From then on, it would be a matter of personal taste whether you like to immediately start working and gain real-world experience in machine-learning industries or sign-up a P.h.d program if you are more interested in research and innovations in the field of AI.

Thank you! That was really helpful. Jane S.

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Syed’s Answer

Hi Jane,

You’re only in high school! You still have college and your early career years ahead of you. Of course you can attain a career in AI. You just need to come up with a plan about the types of courses, internships, research, co-ops and other experiential learning opportunities to chase once you get to college. Also, talk to people in the field when they come visit your campus.

Thank you! What would you recommend majoring in to be on the right track? Jane S.

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Kieran’s Answer

Hi Jane, first off congratulations on being so focused with your future while still in High School. Being so young , you have a unique opportunity to investigate every career you are interested in before deciding. My best advice to you would be to reach out to people in the field. We as professionals enjoy sharing our experiences with others that are interested. I would target some companies in AI, and call their HR department and ask if they have a mentorship program you could join, in oder to get real world experience and decide if its the correct path for you.
Good Luck
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