Potential upsides and downsides of decisions algorithms make on our behalf. Imagine you are driving in Yellowstone National Park and suddenly a deer jumps on the road in front of your car.
Imagine you are driving in Yellowstone National Park and suddenly a deer jumps on the road in front of your car. You have a few crucial seconds to decide whether you want to save deer’s life by moving the car off the road into a fence or save yourself and your family’s life. The most important skill you will need in such a situation is rational decision making.
We, humans, are natural decision-makers. From deciding which fruit to eat that doesn’t end up killing us to deciding which fruit has the perfect balance of all the macronutrients, we have come a long way.
But in the AI era, our decisions are being increasingly outsourced to computer algorithms. These days we are relying more on big data algorithms for crucial life decisions than our instincts. Today, the truth is defined as the top result of a google search instead of an individual’s wisdom.
“The best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google search”- a busy googler
I am an aspiring data scientist and have been working in the field of data science and machine learning for the past two years. In 2018, when I was starting in this field, while researching I came across mixed opinions about AI. There were people on both ends of the spectrum. On one side were highly optimistic people who have a utopian view of AI suggesting that it has the capability to fix all the existing problems of mankind while on the other side there were conflicting views about the cynical effects of AI on the job market. This confused me on which side should I choose.
Recently, I read two books, Girl Decoded by Rana el Kaliouby and The Big Nine by Amy Webb, that have deeply impacted and altered my thinking about Machine Learning and AI in general. Both these books almost convey the same message i.e. AI, if not used ethically and if it doesn’t share our motivations, desires, and hopes for the future of humanity might start to behave unpredictably, thinking and acting in ways that will defy human logic.
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In this article, I clarify the various roles of the data scientist, and how data science compares and overlaps with related fields such as machine learning, deep learning, AI, statistics, IoT, operations research, and applied mathematics.