We “think” we know what we are doing, but do we really though?

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

We “think” we know what we are doing, but do we really though?

Imagine you are walking down on a road to go to a very popular place. On the way, you hear people saying “I heard it is gonna destroy everything”, “Legend says, it can solve all the problems you have”… You are trying to make sense of it but you are absolutely clueless and you start getting afraid. You decide to ask people what the heck is they are talking about. One says “it is magic!” the other says “it is a black box full of secrets”. You get even more confused. This is not helpful at all but you keep walking because you heard it is cool but you are not sure why it is.

This is what is happening regarding AI and data, especially since the ongoing pandemic brought unprecedented problems. There are all the buzzwords thrown away as solutions like “Data-driven”, “Big data”, “The age of AI”… And we feel like we should catch up with these trends otherwise we are afraid we would be left behind, which known as the fear of missing out (FOMO).

We are trying to find what really matters and why among the sentences like “No more excuses: Start your AI project, now”, “Make your organization data-driven before it is too late”, “Don’t become data-driven, become data-informed” and dozens more. It is hard to navigate ourselves and we can easily feel overwhelmed, exhausted or anxious.

There is of course more to what happens when we don’t truly understand what is that we are facing and just “thinking” or “feeling like” we know. This situation will bring unrealistic expectations and we will look for unlikely scenarios like “Our data will tell us what to do” or “OMG AI will take over my job”.

So, what I encourage you to do, starting from today, is to practice having a “beginners mind”, the attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions when learning something. This will allow you to put doom or boom scenarios aside and have a more realistic understanding therefore more realistic expectations.

Try to talk with you 5 years-old nephew about AI, explain why data is so valuable to your grandfather. I promise it will be challenging, more than you could imagine and very soon, you will realize what you don’t really know.

Once you know what you don’t know, you can go to the basics and learn about them. There is an abundance of sources (maybe even too many) but here are three of them I’ve used as my starting point on my journey to understanding what the heck is going on(which are all freely accessible by the way).

  1. The elements of AI: This source makes an amazing start for AI. As it is prepared specifically for non-experts, it uses a non-technical language and real-world scenarios they give throughout the course helps you conceptualize AI.
  2. DataBasic.io: This course is ideal to crush barriers you have regarding data and help you become more confident. The user-friendly interface helps you practice your first data visualization and take your first steps into data analysing.
  3. Free Code Camp: If you are looking for an advanced source to help you understand the more technical aspect of data but you don’t want to become a data professional, you can do so in about four hours.

Leave a comment if you have any other suggestions you benefited from and helped you find your way among all the trends.