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Research in Artificial Intelligence: My Career Choice

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Research in Artificial Intelligence: my career choice

"Cogito, ergo sum" wrote René Descartes in his book "Discourse on Method" in the seventeenth

century. At the time when he wrote the above adage, Descartes would have scoffed at the idea of

machines that were capable of thinking and making intelligent and rational decisions. The human

brain is regarded to be more capable of higher order activities such as thought, reasoning and

abstraction, and we are considered to be more "intelligent" than all other known species. The idea

of thinking machines and machine consciousness does not fit well with our notions about

ourselves. The ongoing debate amongst AI philosophers regarding strong AI vs. the weak AI is a

clear indication of this fact. Who would have thought that a few axioms laid down in the

1950's and 60's in the field of Artificial Intelligence, could have such a profound impact on our

lives, today. How can I not choose to do research in this exciting field, for my future career ?

My fondest childhood memories are those in which my father, who happens to be working in the

field of AI, taught me how to program Robots. I'd sit transfixed as my father would explain me

these wonderfully complex concepts of AI. Countless Science fiction novels and movies later, it

was time to go for an Undergraduate degree in Computing Science.

Was I ever more surprised ! After taking specialized courses on Intelligent Systems,

Machine Learning, etc. I found out that the reality was vastly different from the portrayal in

those sci-fi novels. It would take at least my lifetime for the machines to be able to attain the

kind of complexity that was portrayed in those novels. However I still loved what I learnt about

AI. I am fascinated by this field knowing we have made a gigantic leap in our ability to solve

decision making problems. Researchers are of the opinion that in the future AI will change the

very way we think. This promises lots of opportunities for young people to make a mark in this

field. Another fascinating aspect of it is that one is not bound to work in only a few selected fields

in order to apply the principles of AI. From launching of Satellites to directing Air Traffic, Speech




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