The skills of the future (Part 3): What is going to change the future of the world, “even more than electricity”?

Last night a friend rushed to tell me about a news segment she’d just seen on a Sunday news program called “60 Minutes” which broadcasts across America every Sunday evening. It was about amazing opportunities in what is broadly known as Artificial Intelligence or “AI”. Part of the show featured a Chinese techpreneur and venture capitalist called Kai-Fu Lee who said he believed AI would “change the world more than anything in the history of mankind, even more than electricity…” 

Let’s talk! 

Mr Lee went on to explain what one AI business called Face++ (not related to Facebook) could do. Maybe some of you have heard about it. If not, look it up. (My team did some quick research and discovered last night’s “60 Minutes” show was a re-run from earlier in 2019 so I’ll share the full transcripts with you below).

On the show, Mr Lee said something I agree with, and I want you to focus on the opportunity here, not the threat: “Today artificial intelligence is not as good as you hope, and not as bad as you fear…” 

He told the 60 Minutes interviewer that his venture capital firm has already funded more than 50 AI start-ups with about 10 $1bn start-ups, including a few $10bn dollar companies…Wow! (You can Google yourself what he did before being a VC!)

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What do you see?

Senior class, do your homework on “Deep learning” and share some feedback here. Try not to make it too complicated. 

__How is deep learning already being used in the world? I will give you one hint: It is a key technology behind “driverless cars.”

This may sound like #SuperSenior class subject matter, but this is an opportunity for many to jump ahead of the pack and some of you eventually to join the ranks of those billionaires Mr Lee referred to in his interview, no doubt led by techpreneurs who did not panic or get fearful of emerging “disruptive” technologies but rather… you fill in the rest.

You might still be very young and that’s great. You know many programmers are self-taught so don’t start saying this or that is not available to you to study. You can get yourself started at a Coding School like Muzinda Hub that I wrote about last week. It’s a new world out there!

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Whoever we are, chances are we need to re-skill as I’ve written before, because technology is moving fast. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is underway, all over the world…

That’s one reason why this same story about AI featured twice in the past several months on one of America’s top news programs! AI will definitely change the way people live and work, all over the world. Who can give me a list of five changes you’ve noticed? Don’t get left behind.

“What skills do I need?” you might ask. Good question. We started the series talking about coding and some other critical thinking skills. Coding is rather like learning the alphabet and how to spell in different languages, or creating a recipe that tells a computer what to do. Now many of you are ready to go to the next level.

A few questions to get you started on this new skill of the future:

# What is “machine learning”?
# What is “deep learning”?
# What is the difference between “deep learning” and “machine learning”?
# Why is access to high quality data so important in machine learning and deep learning?
# Why is the field of “data science” so exciting?

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This AI is deep stuff. You have to know about it. Just get yourself started to learn more about it now, if you haven’t already, including taking online courses.

It’s one of those revolutionary changes in the world that require a mindset change, not just as an entrepreneur, but as a parent and policymaker, too.

Let us not waste time debating “if or when,” let’s get to how and now!

I’ll tell you more about another of our ventures in this space in my next post.

To be continued. . .

Image credit: Nigerian robotics engineer, Silas Adenkule. From the Facebook page of the company he co-founded, Reach Robotics.



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