Artificial What?

I’m almost back in Manchester after a relaxing summer in my home country and although I’m sad that it’s over, I’m excited to discover the second-year challenges waiting for me when I get back. This entry is more about what to expect as a 1st-year student about to start the AI degree or just any innovation-driven individual.

Artificial Intelligence. It’s a worldwide trend used in technology and known as the ‘future’. It can be a confusing term from time-to-time because different people use it with different meanings, but one main definition is: a machine acting as an intelligent human being (or even better perhaps?). This can all be relative, of course, but it’s just a concept, an ideal target for coders and you can take it as it is.

For a beginner, a good start for getting to know this field is studying machine learning and probabilities. Don’t worry, you will have them covered in your degree at some point, but if you are really interested and understand a bit of Maths, I recommend taking a free online course. It could be quite useful especially for Hackathons if you plan on doing some (which I strongly advise, too).

Anyway perhaps your asking why would you take this degree rather than the usual Computer Science? When I first came here I was questioning things like, whether I made the right choice? Or what if I want to know about other fields like, mobile applications or the internet? Well, initially, it’s actually the same thing as one thing you should make a note of is that the first year is the same for both AI and CS.

What AI does have different are some optional course units that become mandatory for the next year and you can also switch from your current degree to another type (within the School of Computer Science, of course), if you decide you want something else. I’d advise that during your first year, just stay focused and pay attention to what you enjoy most.

For those of you who already know AI is what they want, don’t expect too much of it in the first year. That is why I started with talking about independent study and in fact, it’s a healthy attitude towards anything that your Professors and advisors will keep on encouraging.

Some other related key terms that you will encounter and I haven’t named yet, are smaller topics within the field like natural language processing, speech recognition, cognitive computing or tools like classifiers, neural networks, deep networks. There are also many more and you will need to decide which type of human intelligence you want to exploit and aim for.

There is also something else to talk about in this context, called data science (and big data) and this is what you basically need to run your tests and improve your systems. It refers to extracting useful knowledge from various data sets, which would look like an intelligent behaviour, so: Artificial Intelligence. In addition to this is the fact that you need to decide which kind of data you want to analysed, be it medical reports, restaurant reviews or dog images!

From my perspective, AI is about a better understanding of people and the world. It is about creating means of discovery and it is about finding information that people cannot observe by themselves.

All in all, what I can conclude, even though I don’t have too much experience yet, is that you have the flexibility and freedom to do many things at Manchester. Anything you are curious or concerned about, you will be able to learn about and you could find yourself motivated to change something. However, before we think about changing the world, there is a long journey to take and I’m sure along the way it will be filled with lots of bugs and self-discovery.

Till next time,

Ana

 

If you’re interested in the Artifical Intelligence BSc course find out more information.

 

 

What do I do?

Hi, my name is Ana, and I do a lot of things, and I am passionate about each of them. Today I will talk about myself, some of my different “faces” and maybe some of my philosophies. If you keep on reading my blogs, you’ll continue to get to know me, for sure!

First of all, I’m a student in the School of Computer Science and I really love it.  I like building stuff and making it work, and I like solving problems – (good) hacking. My degree is i15039693_1282041421846533_8257215970254254257_on Artificial Intelligence but there’s something interesting to learn from each course or aspect of CS, and when you can’t find a good challenge you can just create your own! In my case, the truth is I do fall behind with my studying from time to time and I can’t really solve as many problems as I want to, not yet at least. But uni isn’t just about that. It’s also about getting to know yourself and trying out real life. (photo: hacking at GreatUniHack)

Here comes my second “face”: I am a people’s person, which is quite weird because I am also an introvert who enjoys spending a lot of time alone. However, there is no point in solving problems if yo16939171_754816208007048_5176513829649869409_nu don’t do it for other people. Coming to uni is the best opportunity for both working on your social life and devoting time to the community. That is why I became a fundraiser and a student rep for the school and also became a more talkative person who loves to party! My piece of advice is to pay attention and ask meaningful questions because everybody knows
something that you don’t and you never know who’s going to be your golden treasure. (photo: selling Romanian amulets for charity)

And finally I will reveal my third face; I am an artist. I’ve been an artist my whole life, and I continue to surround myself with art. I’m the one who dances until there’s no one left on the floor, the one who plays the guitar until 15385367_1234105463312422_4729332084887116603_oher fingers bleed, the one who paints with her whole body, the one who keeps on running because the beat feels so alive and the one who discovers a new type of art every day. Manchester is filled with all kinds of art; with its wide range of cultural attractions and there’s plenty of space for your own! (photo: singing in the gospel choir)

So the answer to the question “What do I do?” is not that obvious. I’m not 100% a computer scientist, and even if I wanted to be, I couldn’t. In fact, if I were one, I’d no doubt be working on a project now instead of babbling away on this blog. However, this is the career that best suits my personality and helps me understand my life as a whole. I might be too much of a Carrie Bradshaw for “Hack and the city”, but I think that being successful in your career isn’t as important as being you. Now, what do YOU do?

I'm a first year student of Artificial Intelligence, trying to make the most of my life.