If you're at all interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI), it's unlikely to be news to you that there is an AI skills shortage. Businesses are increasingly looking to invest in AI and are on the hunt for suitably skilled workers since traditional software teams without the experience of AI often encounter a number of challenges, as I described in a recent article over on DZone. Anyone thinking about joining the AI workforce will want to learn the subject, initially by doing some reading and research, but without committing to paying too much. As the need to recruit skilled AI staff has grown, so a number of businesses and individuals have set out to provide training courses, books, and e-learning, and the price and quality of these vary, as you would expect. As with all education, if you commit a chunk of your time, you don't want to find it wasted on out-of-date or incorrect information or to find that you are missing out on key skills after spending time and money on a course that promises to equip you appropriately.
When the world's smartest companies such as Microsoft, Google, Alphabet Inc., and Baidu are investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence (AI), the world is going to sit up and take notice. Chinese Internet giant Baidu spent USD1.5 billion on research and development. And as proof of China's strong focus on AI and Machine Learning, Sinovation Ventures, a venture capital firm, invested USD0.1 billion in "25 AI-related startups" in the last three years in China and the U.S. Research shows that although genuine intelligence may still be a bit far off, AI and Machine Learning technologies are still expected to reign in 2017. Try reading up on Microsoft Project Oxford, IBM Watson, Google Deep Mind, and Baidu Minwa, and you'll understand what I am trying to get at. In 2015, Gartner's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies introduced Machine Learning (ML), and the graph showed (Figure 1) that it would reach a plateau in 2 to 5 years.
If the math behind data science is an enigma, the Khan Academy is a great place for insight. There are courses for different levels, and Sal Khan's relaxed delivery will get you through even the most difficult concepts (I think I have a small crush on him after the hours I've spent listening to his narratives!).
Machine learning is impacting countless industries, from the recent discovery of a black hole to improving healthcare, we are just scratching the surface. The retail industry is a prime example. Retailers and manufacturers are racing to figure out how they can employ machine learning to target specific consumers, monitor trends, and discover new pricing models. While retailers and manufacturers are doubling down on new ways to target and sell to consumers, Jia Rui Ong, a two-time Nanodegree program graduate, and his team are employing machine learning to help you, the consumer, find the best price for the clothing you desire. We recently had a chance to sit down with Jia Rui Ong and his team at Yux to discuss their product, as well as, our newly updated Machine Learning Nanodegree program.