Is your CEO suddenly repeating the phrase “artificial intelligence” over and over again? Are your clients jabbering endlessly about making an app “smarter”? If so, you might need to take a crash course in machine learning, the skillset that will enable you to create software that refines itself over the course of many iterations.
Google is now offering such a course, complete with 25 lessons and more than 40 exercises, all of it designed for completion in 15 hours (or conceivably less, if you already have some of the necessary knowledge). There are lots of videos of Google engineers describing the nuances of machine learning, but the course is ultimately independent, so you’ll need to be good at self-learning in order to make your way through it.
Topics covered include training and test sets, validation, regularization, logic regression, classification, and training neural nets. There are some examples of machine learning at work in the real world, including a five-minute video on cancer prediction.
Even if you don’t have an immediate need for machine-learning knowledge, adopting the technology into your toolkit is probably a good idea over the long term. Machine-learning algorithms can do everything from improve the driving accuracy of autonomous vehicles to boost network cybersecurity (or, conversely, help unleash a new age of exceptionally brutal cyberattacks); tech pros, recognizing the power of the technology to change the world, have been rushing to learn more about it. (On that note: a new study from GitHub shows that developers are increasingly interested in machine-learning and deep-learning platforms such as TensorFlow.)
In response to that burgeoning demand, companies such as Google are studying how to best automate A.I. and machine-learning systems so that a broader range of workers can utilize them. However automated those technologies become, though, chances are good that anyone working with A.I. and machine learning will need to know at least the basics of the technology in order to perform a job; hence the need for education along the lines of Google’s new crash course.