Machine Learning (ML) or Artificial Intelligence (AI), are almost used as synonyms for each other and are perhaps the most talked about topics in recent times. What the internet did to our lives, emerging as one of the game changers of the time, AI and ML are expected to do the same, by impacting and transforming our lives in ways we cannot fathom or imagine. It will change the way we shop, communicate, travel, conduct our daily lives and do our business.
So what is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning? AI is kind of a problem-solving process, which enables software to perform tasks without specifically being programmed. It includes Neural Networks and Deep Learning concepts, a way through which machines can perform tasks which are equivalent to the way a human mind would. ML is an application of AI which to put it simply, enables the machine to access data and learn to perform tasks by the use of algorithms, and further allows the system to find insights, and at times fix anomalies, without any external human programming intervention.
AI and ML concepts have been around for decades, but it is only recently, that huge volumes of data that is gathered from distributed sources, which was not possible in the past, is making a difference to this concept. Data is important as it offers that many reference points, for example, if a machine stores the case history of cancer patients across large hospitals, from different continents, then while choosing a treatment path, an oncologist can view the data across and suggest the most effective and preferred treatment. Besides healthcare, if we take an example of education, this concept can even predict who will drop out from school by studying the sentiment before dropping out, or if we look at fashion, then it can predict the style or maybe even the colour of the next season. ML has already been adopted by the Retail and Transportation (read Airline specifically) and Financial Services Industries.
India has also recognised the power of AI and ML and is transforming from the base with regards to this, the learning switch is triggered, many new aspirants are looking at ML and AI as new career opportunities rather than the traditional roles in IT. Many organisations have also realised the power of data, as they were already sitting on gold mines of data, so the cloud is getting the computing power to the existing data, and ML is creating an impact in decision making by providing actionable intelligence.
According to a recent report by Accenture, AI has the potential to add close to $957 Billion to the Indian economy by changing the nature of work, to create better outcomes for business and society. The report called ‘Rewire for Growth’ predicts that AI intervention could increase India’s annual growth rate of gross value added (GVA) by 1.3 % points, thus lifting the country’s income by 15% in 2035.
Definitely for AI to reach its full potential, India will need to develop a vision, which in the long run will have an action plan to collaborate the ecosystem and manage technical and ethical questions as they ascend. An increased spending on AI will facilitate this, and of course, the big businesses will also play a key role in the unlocking the economic value of AI. Also as found in the research by Accenture, more than 88% of businesses in India are expected to make moderate to extensive investments in AI related technologies over the next three years.
Picking up Machine Learning skills is the best advice one can give to anyone looking to pursue a career in the analytics field. As the demand for ML Analyst is only anticipated to grow in the coming years across all domains within the country and across the globe.