Studying AI

2019-10-07

Why did I choose artificial intelligence as my bachelor's program?

Today at 8:30 I had my first lecture at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz. I've moved here 14 months ago with the plans to start studying right away, but then, going with the flow of life, I've decided to skip a year and start working. Another motivation to wait was also a newly starting bachelor's program in artificial intelligence that was in the planning phase.

For the last 8 years of my life, since the age of 12, I knew that I want to work in a field that's close to computers. Back then, this seemed to be computer science. During the last years of high-school this have changed and I've become certain that I would not enjoy studying computer science in its raw form. I wanted to find a field that's as close to computers and programming as it can be, but it's still combined with some other field or science.

Bioinformatics seemed like a good choice at first (throughout last year), but after I've listened to the opinion of some people around me, I've realized that learning biology and chemistry would be a compromise next to my interests in computers and probably wouldn't have been sustainable in the 3 year period.

Artifical intelligence is a very hot topic. No doubts about that. The interest in the program here at the JKU also supports this. Some of the problems companies try to solve with AI are important to me (personalized education, drug exploration, etc.) and to some extent I believe in them, but I don't believe in the AI for everything hype, I don't believe in apps that make you older and neither in assistants that export your decisions to Google.

Big data is the by-product of the internet era and as long as we don't redesign the system and faciliate decentralization from a protocol level, we will keep producing data on someone else's server in a data center. This is why I'm interested in data science, we must maintain the health of these datasets and use them for good. I truly enjoy the feeling of getting some useful insight out of an arbitrary dataset, which at first seems like noise. Also, I don't trust Silicon Valley companies gaining ownership over all the data in the world.

I want to become an artificial intelligence "expert" because at the end of the day I want to know: I did everything I could to turn this technology on the people's and not on the profit's side.

Hereby I encourage everyone who's afraid of AI and of a future powered by AI to go and study. To become better than everyone else, better than those profit gobbling developers selling themselves for entities that are simply not trustworthy on the path to a better future. I see some developers avoiding AI, putting it as a bad thing just because most companies misuse it, but don't we misuse many less useful things too? With the ignorance of mindful developers, this technology will fall out of the hands of people, into the pockets of companies.