AI may still be fooling you

If someone with no or superficial knowledge about AI or Machine Learning (ML) (like me few months ago) were to look at this field from the outside, you would see the wonderful things AI is bringing to us. AI products like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, Chat Bots, Boston Dynamics’ robots have amazed us. Like everyone I thought this was COOL and AWESOME. You get to see You Tubers like Siraj Raval, sentdex, Mark Jay posting cool AI projects, which upon seeing you cannot help but get awestruck. You get this notion that AI is this mind boggling field which makes talking computers, humanoid robots, abstract paintings etc.

Well, my friend, this is only 20% of what AI is.

These examples I mentioned above are only few projects that has made AI look glamorous even in the eyes of a non-technical person.

If you are someone who is looking to study AI/ML beware, its not as glamorous as it looks.

The biggest and most important portion of an AI/ML project is data. Data, data and data! Knowledge of data, data processing, manipulation and analyzing is a must for an AI/ML engineer.

Imagine it as a story teller’s job. Once upon a time there was an old farm. The farm was used to raise sheep. The sheep were a source of wool and milk. The farmers would work with their sheep every day of the year. Feeding the sheep, taking out their wool and milk. This is being going on for a year now. But now, the farmer wants to sit down and analyze his product and investment. He wants to know the amount of wool and milk he got in return in reference to his investment. At this point, the farmer calls his AI/ML son and asks him to come down to his farm and help him analyzing his ROI (return on investment).

Now, you may ask, why an AI/ML person for a ROI task? An accountant can easily get it done for him.

Well, this farmer is an inquisitive person. He is not just interested in his ROI. He is also interested in finding out how the produce is varying with respect to time and other factors. You see, he has been feeding the sheep with different types of fodders. He wants to know which fodder is responsible for high produce and which one is responsible for low produce. He has also been tracking the amount of milk produce over time and date. He wants to know what time during the day is good for sheep milk. Like that, he wants to know how the changes in the weather is responsible to effect his produce. The list goes on and on.

Not so glamorous anymore is it?

But trust me, his AI/ML engineer son is going to have a wonderful time analyzing the given data. He is the ultimate story teller for his father. He will take the raw data and convert that into a legible story for his father to understand.

Don’t let me fool you :-) AI and ML is still the coolest thing out there. But remember, its all about data. You got to love data to appreciate AI/ML.