Many things have been written about ChatGPT and how it has blown the Gartner Hype Cycle to bits. It has stayed on the curve, but it has progressed much more quickly than most any other technology. We are somewhere on the “Slope of Enlightenment” where we are truly seeing the benefits of investment and implementation moving rapidly towards the “Plateau of Productivity” where this tech will be a part of many of our daily lives.
We all can be (need to be) a part of the this every exciting time. It has grown beyond the realm of mathmeticians, data-scientists, and algorithm enthusiasts to a point where nearly everyone can contribute in this innovation cycle.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts (.NET Rocks) and was encouraged by the 6/1/2023 episode, No Free Lunch in Machine Learning with Jodie Burchell. I was reminded that there is still a lot of work to do and many applications to be made. It is the time of practical application.
Whether you are a domain expert, business application implenter, or solutions developer there are places where everyone can contribute during this exciting time of computing history making.
Use Cases and Practical Application
AI/ML will continue to make an impact on nearly all industries. I am particularly interested in potential advances in healthcare, finance, retail, manufacturing, and home automation. These ultimately are the realms of business people and analysts who deeply understand the problems faced and potential new and exciting use cases. The domain knowledge of these people (who are likely not techncal) will educate us on the problems we can solve. It is very important that they are an incredibly important part of this process.
These folks can contribute right now in many ways. Take the initiative.
- Look for common tasks that can be automated. Put a team together that can brainstorm and experiment.
- Join with peers to understand industry-specific applications
- Engage with technical teams implementing AI/ML solutions and provide your domain expertise
- Participate in industry events (conferences, user groups, hackathons) focused on AI/ML and your industry
Tool and Application Builders
Technologists who are not focused on building, understanding, and training models will be the builders of the applications that make use of AI/ML. They will build the systems that people use to engage with AI/ML. They will implement the interfaces end-users use. The popular AI/ML platforms are begging developers to use their APIs, frameworks, and libraries and give feedback. This role is significant.
Additional ways to get involved in your own research and development include:
- Contributing to open-source projects. If you are not comfortable contributing directly, use the tools in the project and submit bug reports or feature requests.
- Build your own tools to solve problems or simplify existing ones.
- Engage with teams in your organization to find applications for competitive advantage or productivity improvement
- Engage with peers in your community to learn
- Educate people on what you’ve learned by creating documentation, tutorials, or sample projects.
Deeper Technical Applications
For our team members who focus more on the systems than the users but are not hard-core AI/ML experts, you’re needed too. Given recent advances, push the boundaries of what AI/ML can to through deeper technical R&D. Explore deeper technical applications relevant to your domain. Examples could be, computer vision, natural langage processing, personal assistant, etc.
Other ideas could be:
- Pursue a certificate in AI/ML to upskill
- Conducting independent research projects or contribute to research teams.
- Present or write about your R&D in conferences and blogs.
- Engage with your technical community.
No matter where you are in an organization, your expertise is needed. If you are a domain expert, tool builder, or low-level developer just starting in AI/ML we need you.
Explore your interests in this space. Find ways to leverage your skills. Engage and contribute to the AI/ML community. It is a very excitng time and we all have the opportunity to be involved in great things.
I, for one, do not want to miss out and am working as much as I can to learn and contribute!