Tech companies are pursuing artificial intelligence projects more than ever, and they’re looking at universities to recruit their new talent.
According to Dinesh Manocha, a computer science professor at UNC, artificial intelligence is an old field that has been around for more than 50 years. However, he said in an email that recent technology breakthroughs have made new and exciting applications of AI a possibility.
Manocha said these developments include increased voice recognition, automatic recognition of images and natural language processing. He said there is strong interest in developing personal robots that can perform daily chores at home, as well as semi-autonomous or autonomous cars.
According to Manocha, developments in AI and machine learning are what make products like Siri, Amazon Echo, Google Home and Google Voice work.
Morgan Vickery, a UNC junior computer science major, said in an email AI can go much further than just natural language processing — reaching into realms such as game development, education, finance, industry, medicine, costumer service and transportation. She said every industry and company can benefit from the incorporation of AI.
“AI has the potential to improve company efficiency, lowers physical risk to workers, lower costs and create employment opportunities," Vickery said.
Manocha said the leading tech companies are short of talent in AI and related areas, and so they are heavily recruiting students with a strong background in this area. He said many professors are giving up their academic jobs to join the tech industry.
Luke Zettlemoyer, an AI professor at the University of Washington, is one professor who chose to turn down a job offer as a research scientist at Google. Instead, he will continue teaching AI and running a research group at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
He said in an email his current setup allows him to keep teaching and doing research with graduate students, which he enjoys.