Artificial Intelligence and its high relevance in higher education

From the classic Blade Runner to iRobot, Her to the eponymous AI, our fascination about Artificial Intelligence has been detailed in many blockbuster movies across decades. But curiosity too breeds contempt. In this instance, it has led to the fear that AI will make human workforce redundant in many industry sectors. But it’s a fear that has been assuaged by many global experts. In fact, the World Economic Forum has gone as far as to predict that AI may lead to a net increase of 58 million jobs globally.

“Some people call it Artificial Intelligence. But the reality is, this technology will enhance us. So, instead of Artificial Intelligence, I think we will augment our intelligence,” claimed Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM. At any rate, AI has the potential of causing the most powerful industry disruptions and innovations. We are already seeing popular examples in the form of self-driven cars, diagnosis and surgeries in healthcare, and the presence of robotic assistants in people’s homes. The opportunities are bound to be limitless.

Why AI and new technologies are integral to modern higher education

According to an Ernst & Young report, more than half of senior AI professionals believe there is a skill gap in the recruitment of new scientists, which has led to a talent crisis. New technologies including AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain will see a growing demand for professionals in times to come. Hence gaining knowledge and practical exposure in these areas has to be seen as a way of future-proofing your careers. It’s interesting to note that the careers in these new-age technologies are not reserved for students with tech background alone.

“I don’t think we need to prepare all students to be programmers or developers. But even future MBAs should be able to communicate with tech professionals with some insights into the area,” says Prof. Allen Huang, HKUST, MBA. He cites the example of top listed companies and the majority of economic drivers, which largely belong to the tech industry. The revolution of new technologies is here. And higher learning institutions can serve their students well and keep them ahead of the learning curve by introducing cutting edge courses into their curriculum.

AI careers of today and tomorrow

INDEED, a leading global job site, reports a whopping 344% growth in jobs for Machine Learning Engineers from 2015-19. Robotics Engineers, Computer Vision Engineers, and Data Scientists jobs have seen a rise of 128%, 116%, and 78% respectively in the same period. Some of the industry sectors that offer significant career opportunities for professionals with knowledge of AI and new technologies include Cyber Security, Healthcare, Supply Chain Management, IT, Construction, Transportation, Education, Retail, and of course IT.

But besides the burgeoning opportunities, it’s the quality of careers that these technologies offer that make them a hugely appealing prospect. “Unlike careers where a path has been laid out over decades, AI is still in infancy. It means you can form your own path and be creative,” said Dan Ayoub, General Manager for mixed reality education, Microsoft. So the top guns Microsoft included like Google, Amazon, and Apple can be just the starting points in your careers. The scope AI and new technologies offer your careers, is tremendous, to say the least.

AI education in India

Though in its nascent stages, AI and new technologies have found their place in programs and curriculums in India. It’s interesting that relatively new universities like SRM AP, that are leading the charge by incorporating new-age courses and labs on campuses. Its M. Tech in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is designed to give students the edge in their specialized careers of tomorrow. But that’s not all; as a University that focuses on a multidisciplinary approach, these courses find their place in several programs including MBA.

Industry oriented courses in Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Cyber Security, Distributed and Cloud Computing can be chosen by students across different domains. SRM AP also runs the Next Tech lab to encourage, enable, and shape future game-changers. Designed to catalyze innovations the lab is a platform for incubation of ideas and gives students the opportunity to work on projects with industry names. It clearly understands that the time is now. AIther you keep up or be left behind.

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