In the 2021 sci-fi drama Finch, there is an interesting scene where the legendary Tom Hanks, the film’s eponymous protagonist, can be seen talking to a robot named Jeff in a desert. “You see, you can already tell me how many rivets are in the Golden Gate Bridge. And how many miles of cables were used and how high it is. But it is not until you actually stand on it and see the beauty, and listen to the suspension cables singing in the wind…That’s experience, human experience,” Finch tells Jeff.
While the movie is set in the future, what Finch said about Jeff’s technical prowess has been true of the ease of technology for a while now. As for the human experience bit of it, I’m sure Jeff doesn't mind. Not yet, at least.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), with its tools and techniques, has been enabling robots, machines and more to carry out human tasks like problem-solving, adapting and learning, and is ever-evolving.
Dr Tanmoy Chakraborty, head, Infosys Centre for Artificial Intelligence, IIIT-Delhi, explains: “Artificial
Intelligence is the ability to provide a machine with the capability to accomplish a task that requires minimal human effort. This capability is provided by utilising programming tools and techniques that equip the machine with the potential of completing tasks without human intervention.”
From autocompleting our sentences and suggesting the best possible systematic investment opportunities to even diagnosing diseases—AI is leading the charge towards the future of technology.
AI’s wide ambit translates to a wider business playground. According to consulting firm Gartner, the worldwide AI software revenue is forecast to total $62.5 billion in 2022, an increase of 21.3% from 2021. Back home, the AI market can touch $7.8 billion by 2025, predicts an International Data Corporation research.
The combined national and international growth estimations show the potential of the AI market which is poised to open up great employment opportunities.
Enter The AI Universe
Today, India is at the forefront of becoming an innovation hub with every sector trying to enhance its output using AI. That said, the educational courses that will enable future technocrats to thrive in this competitive market are few and far between.
The few offline colleges that do offer these courses are either beyond the middle-class student’s reach or see extremely tough competition to secure a seat.
Just like any other field, this one needs a candidate to have a decent set of skills and knowledge of subjects, too.
Raghav Gupta, managing director,
India and APAC of e-learning platform Coursera, says, “For starters, one needs to have sound knowledge of math, science, computer science and, specifically, data science. Expertise in advanced math such as calculus and algebra, Bayesian algorithms, probability and statistics is a huge plus. Tools such as Python, C++, and Java will be highly helpful.”
Institutes like IIT-Mandi, Woxsen University in Hyderabad, Acropolis Institute of Technology and Research in Indore, and Indian Institute of Information Technology Sri City and Delhi are some names that offer courses related to the field. Additionally, many online platforms, like Coursera, edX, Google, Udemy, Amazon Web Services, and IBM, offer similar courses.
While the education infrastructure for AI is still at a nascent stage in India, countries like France, China, the US and the UK have already made strides in this field and stand tall as the current AI leaders of the world. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Oxford, Harvard University, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, University Of Texas are some renowned institutes that offer courses in the field.
Is It Worth It?
In a recent report, the World Economic Forum named analytical thinking and innovation, and technology design and programming as essential job skills of the future. Looking at the pace at which the AI space is expanding, it won’t be surprising to see the need
and demand for professionals and experts, the creators of an AI-enabled world, shoot up substantially in the coming years.
The scope is not limited to household and business purposes, says Raj Das, co-founder and CEO, Hirect. “The medical and aviation sectors are also using AI to better their services. If AI is outperforming human efforts, opting for AI automation will slash costs in the long run for a business,” he adds, explaining the relevance of the sector.
Jerry Varghese, Head of Human Resources, Toch AI, mirrors that thought. “The adoption of AI is no longer limited to large technology implementations. It is now progressively being embraced by non-technological enterprises in their operational roles. The job openings are going to be extensive and India should go for the first-mover advantage amongst all the developing countries.”
It seems like automation is going to be the reality of the future and being prepared for it in the right way would be advantageous.
Hariprasad P.S., AI lead of identity verification firm HyperVerge, correctly explains: “As some jobs get redundant, other jobs pop up. However, positions like data analysts and AI engineers will become more and more prevalent.”