When businesses as influential and enormous as Microsoft and Google are rearranging their corporate structures around AI, it’s clear the field is an important one. Artificial intelligence development is the next logical step in a world where large amounts of data are available. After companies started collecting ever-increasing amounts of information, they had to figure out what to do with that data and build the tools to help them do it.
AI is often associated with automation, but it goes beyond the simplest, manual forms of that. For example, businesses could use AI to find patterns in the content they save to the cloud, and then focus time on putting that information to use instead of sifting through reams of data to find the insights that a machine can now highlight for them. These technologies can be used to perform tasks that have to be done frequently or those that have to be done in high volumes, but the machine learning component — which does still involve human intervention — is a key part of that.
As billionaire investor Mark Cuban put it recently, "There's going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors than for programming majors – and maybe even engineering.” For the majority of the post-college workforce, knowing what the components of artificial intelligence are, how it's being used to solve small and specific problems right now and how it will be used to solve bigger problems and create whole new fields of IT are all important elements in building the next stage of their IT career.