Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

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This One Profession Is the Future of Communication

Think about it: Tech that helps us communicate is the most fundamental and important tech in the world. Through the early implements that enabled writing, ancient humans were able to organize systems of localized commerce. Through the telegraph, global commerce became possible. Telephones and the internet then took everything to the next level, and here we are now.

In the past, you could call someone in a different country, but you couldn’t pick up a telephone and use it to talk to someone in a different language. Now that’s changed. Apple’s latest innovation, iPhone X, has a translator feature that claims to be the Rosetta Stone, the tool to crack the language barrier’s code. It works through digital assistant Siri, which, with an update to the iPhone’s operating system, can translate your words into five different languages, including French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish.

Translation is just part of what Apple’s AI can do. Facial recognition is another feature in the mix. Face ID creates a “depth map of your face,” analyzing 30,000 dots that correspond to your facial features, and learning how your appearance changes over time. The iPhone X’s neural engine processes up to 600 billion operations per second as it continues learning who you are.

In the future, the iPhone X may even look rudimentary in terms of what artificial intelligence can do. Specialists who make machine learning possible will be in high demand.

Right now the demand for AI specialists is extreme. There are less than 10,000 people in the world who can do the type of work necessary to bring AI projects to fruition. AI specialists can make anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000 per year (including company stock). Employees at DeepMind, the AI company purchased by Google, take home $345,000 a piece (per year) on average. And, on the most extreme end of the AI earnings spectrum, Google’s Anthony Levandowski took home $120 million in total as a self-driving car engineer for Google.

Nearly every major company has AI initiatives, and they need specialists to fill important positions. Meanwhile, small startups are working to develop AI tech that could see them become the next Apple or the next Microsoft. Demand for analytics professionals is somewhere near 60 percent higher than the pool of talent. In other words, if you have an analytics degree, you have a lot of earning power.

The iPhone X encompasses a great deal of what AI can do. But in the future, there’s a chance AI could accomplish a sci-fi feat that would make communication a matter of telepathy.

Scientists are working on using AI for brain augmentation. According to Newsweek, “Future projects include the development of telepathic communication and the creation of ‘cyborgs,’ where humans have advanced abilities thanks to technological interventions.” Scientist Mikhail Lebedev, who spearheaded “Augmentation of brain function: facts, fiction and controversy”, a research project that won the $100,000 Frontiers Spotlight Award in Europe, believes AI brain augmentation will be a reality by 2030.

He’s not alone. Elon Musk’s Neuralink project is aiming to create “neural lace” that will allow human brains to interface with computers. And Kernel is a startup with neuroscientists and software engineers working on linking the brain to AI for improved cognition. In the future these projects could enable us to communicate with each other through the web telepathically.

Even if humans never become telepathic cyborgs, AI will influence communication technology as we develop it further. Even if you use an old-school landline, your call will be routed through a system that uses machine learning.

Like it or not, AI is the future of communication. Prepare yourself for career in the AI sphere, and you’re preparing yourself to hold the keys to the global city.


About Daniel Matthews

Daniel Matthews is a freelance writer who specializes in finance, tech, business, and current events. You can find him on Twitter.
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