You Don’t Need a PhD to Join the AI Economy

You Don't Need a PhD to Join the AI Economy

You Don’t Need a PhD to Join the AI Economy

The AI revolution has arrived. And although the technology is still in its infancy, it promises to radically transform the global economy—impacting human lives, culture, and politics in ways that we can scarcely imagine. A recent article by Forbes Technology Council member Christian Pedersen argued that artificial intelligence will create new opportunities for data scientists, researchers, analysts, and other highly educated technical specialists even as the more easily-automated job functions of low skill workers “fall to the wayside.”

Pedersen’s argument is correct on both counts, but the AI economy is also dependent upon one more ingredient: subject-matter expertise. Participation in the burgeoning AI economy doesn’t require an advanced degree in data science or fluency in the latest programming languages. In fact, many of today’s workers already have the sort of invaluable subject matter expertise that will be essential to helping AI become more sophisticated, efficient, and useful in the years to come. The future of industry will not be one in which humans are replaced by AI, but rather one in which humans and AI work together. That’s because, as it turns out, AI isn’t all that smart without us humans.

How to Train Artificial Intelligence


The AI revolution has arrived. And although the technology is still in its infancy, it promises to radically transform the global economy—impacting human lives, culture, and politics in ways that we can scarcely imagine. A recent article by Forbes Technology Council member Christian Pedersen argued that artificial intelligence will create new opportunities for data scientists, researchers, analysts, and other highly educated technical specialists even as the more easily-automated job functions of low skill workers “fall to the wayside.”

Pedersen’s argument is correct on both counts, but the AI economy is also dependent upon one more ingredient: subject-matter expertise. Participation in the burgeoning AI economy doesn’t require an advanced degree in data science or fluency in the latest programming languages. In fact, many of today’s workers already have the sort of invaluable subject matter expertise that will be essential to helping AI become more sophisticated, efficient, and useful in the years to come. The future of industry will not be one in which humans are replaced by AI, but rather one in which humans and AI work together. That’s because, as it turns out, AI isn’t all that smart without us humans.

How to Train Artificial Intelligence

For decades, we’ve watched as advances in industrial automation have precipitated the gradual decline of low skill job opportunities in manufacturing and other blue collar industries. Now we’re beginning to see that AI has the capacity to replace skilled, white-collar knowledge workers as well. While it’s true that workers must evolve to stay relevant in a job market that will be increasingly shaped by AI and automation, this job market won’t just need technical experts with advanced degrees. AI-powered solutions require much more than just developers, researchers, and analysts to operate effectively. AI needs training.

For example, Volkswagen’s Innovation and Engineering Center California (IECC) recently debuted a new version of the classic 1962 VW Microbus, which was created by AI using generative design. The VW Type 20 Concept features bright orange wheels, side mirror supports, and other components that replace the usual straight lines and bulky forms of traditional car design with unusual, 3D-printed support lattices resembling tree branches or vines. These structures may look strange, but they provide the same level of support as standard components while using significantly less material.

Does this mean that generative design will eventually replace the human designers of the future? Not quite. Like most AI applications, generative design relies on human input to set constraints and handle complex decision making. As IECC Principal Product Designer Erik Glaser notes, “their software figures out a bunch of optimized results—some of which look insane—and then you pick the ones you like.” Even as AI evolves to take on high-level duties like product design, it requires human assistance to create something that humans will actually use.

AI designed for simple tasks like image recognition can be trained on data alone, but AI assigned to more specialized tasks needs input from human experts. Post-doctoral researchers, data scientists, and other AI specialists may be brilliant people with diverse skill sets, but rarely do they have insight into the nuances of product design, the delicacies of customer service, or the subtleties of concierge hospitality. A computer programmer can create AI capable of performing the most general tasks—answering a customer inquiry or checking in a hotel guest, for example—but only the knowledge and experience of subject-matter experts can help virtual agents become truly useful and effective.

Source: https://www.industryweek.com/technology-and-iiot/you-dont-need-phd-join-ai-economy