Hi. I’m Matthew Renze, data science consultant,
author, and public speaker.
Welcome to Artificial Intelligence: Preparing
Your Career for AI.
In this brief course, you’ll learn what you
should be doing today to prepare
for the coming wave of AI-enabled automation.
You’ll learn how AI will impact you, your
career, and our world.
More importantly, I’ll provide you with practical
advice on how to prepare for these changes today.
But first, let’s begin with a quick story.
Over the past few millennia, humanity has
gone though several major technological revolutions.
Around 10,000 years ago,
we entered the agricultural revolution.
This revolution lead to new agricultural technologies
like farming, the plow, and the wheel.
As a result, agricultural societies spread
from the cradle of civilization
to the ends of the Earth.
Around 250 years ago, we entered the industrial
This revolution lead to new industrial technologies
like steam power, the factory, and electricity.
As a result, industrial societies flourished
and spread across the globe.
Less than 100 years ago,
we entered the information revolution.
This revolution lead to new information technologies
like telecommunications, electronic computers,
and digital information.
As a result, high-tech societies prospered
as they spread across the globe and into cyberspace.
With each of these technology revolutions,
human society was radically transformed over
a relatively short period of time.
With each revolution we saw a wellspring of
new technologies that had never existed before.
And with each revolution there were those
who prepared and thrived in the new world
and there were those who were unprepared and
become redundant, unemployable, or obsolete.
Today we are entering the next major revolution
in human history:
the Artificial Intelligence revolution.
Just like the previous technology revolutions,
we will likely see a fundamental transformation
of our economy, our society, and our world.
We will likely see a wellspring of new
And there some people who will prepare and
thrive in the new world and others who will
not prepare and will become redundant, unemployable,
The purpose of this brief course is to answer
the following question:
“What should I do *today* to prepare for the
coming wave of AI-enabled automation?”
What should you be doing right now to prepare
as we enter the next major technology revolution?
However, I don’t want to provide you with
a bunch of “pie in the sky” wishful thinking.
I want to provide you with advice that’s specific,
actionable, timely, and pragmatic.
Advice that you can put to good use today
to ensure your success through
the AI tech revolution and beyond.
To answer this question, I will provide you
with the following five recommendations:
Educate yourself about AI,
upgrade your career for AI,
invest in an AI-first economy,
use AI responsibly and ethically,
and adapt to what comes next or become obsolete.
With each step we’ll go a bit wider in scope
and longer in our timescale.
By the end of this course, you’ll know what
you should be doing, *today*,
to prepare for the coming wave
of AI-enabled automation.
Before we get into the practical advice, I want to
make sure that we’re all on the same page
about what artificial intelligence is
and what it isn’t?
So what is AI?
Artificial intelligence is a field of computer
science that attempts to create machines
that act rationally in response to their environment.
An AI is any machine that perceives it’s environment
and chooses actions that maximize the likelihood
of achieving a goal of some kind.
Essentially, an AI is just a machine that
takes data as input and produces the best
possible output given what it currently knows.
Some examples of AI include:
computers that can play chess,
robots that can vacuum your floor,
non-player characters in video games,
and navigation software on your smart phone.
Any computer algorithm that replicates some
aspect of human intelligence or natural intelligence
is essentially a form of artificial intelligence.
Now, when I say “artificial intelligence”, many of you will immediately think of sentient robots like:
Data from Star Trek,
or HAL 9000?
This is what we refer to as Artificial General
Intelligence or “general AI”.
General AI can solve a wide variety
of general-purpose problems.
It’s a type of futuristic AI that doesn’t
currently exist today.
In fact, it will likely be several decades
before we reach this level of highly flexible
and adaptable AI.
However, this is the direction that things
are moving and the eventual goal
of many AI research projects.
On the other hand, many of you will think
of modern AI like:
or Google’s self-driving car?
This is what we call Artificial Narrow Intelligence
or “narrow AI”.
Narrow AI is focused on solving a very narrow
set of specific problems.
It’s the type of AI that exists today.
The type of AI that we’re going to be talking
about during this course.
However, it’s also the type of AI that will
likely revolutionize our world
over the next few decades.
It might surprise some of you that artificial
intelligence has been around for quite some time.
In fact, the field of AI dates all the way
back to the 1950s.
In the past, we had some machines that were
capable of making rational decisions.
However, they had to be explicitly programmed
to make these decisions
and they could only operate successfully in very constrained environments.
There was a lot of hype about what artificial
intelligence would eventually be able to do.
Many experts predicted that machines would
soon replace all human labor
but it never happened.
By the end of the ’90s, machines couldn’t
even solve basic general-purpose tasks
that even a toddler could solve.
The inflated hype about the potential of AI
and subsequent disillusionment
when it never happened led to what
we now referred to as the AI Winters.
Multiple periods between the late ’70s into
the early 2000s where funding for AI
had almost entirely dried up.
However, by the mid 2000s the last AI Winter
had ended and things started to warm up again.
Today, AI is booming because of recent advances in
and reinforcement learning.
In fact, modern AI is largely build upon these
three data-driven approaches.
These advances are largely the result of four
changes that have occurred over the past few decades:
We now have a tremendous amount
of data available.
We now have significantly more
compute power available.
We now have much better algorithms
for training AI models.
And we now have a much more
disciplined approach to AI
— a data-science approach.
If these trends continue, in the near future,
AI will likely become even more lucrative
as it begins to disrupt
almost every industry imaginable.
So, to quickly recap: What is AI?
An AI is any machine that can act rationally
in response to it’s environment.
We’re talking specifically about “narrow
which can solve only a very limited set of problems.
And it’s an industry that’s been through
various cycles of booms and busts
largely based on the ratio of hype
vs. real-world applications.