AI Roadmap for High School Students
“Computers will overtake humans with AI within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours.”
- Stephen Hawking
Artificial Intelligence is taking the world by storm, whether we like it or not. And, it is up to us to ensure that we make the most productive use of it as a tool, not a threat.
In this blog, I will be talking about AI at the High School level and applying AI to different fields of study. I will also discuss the importance of upholding AI Ethics and describe my journey with AI.
As a high schooler that was once confused about pursuing computer science, I am certain that we have all faced these daunting questions:
1. How can I prepare myself for university-level computer science?
2. How do I know whether I have the skillset to pursue this career choice?
3. How do I even apply AI to my area of interest?
4. Where can I actually learn the coding side of AI, considering that most courses just contain theory?
Believe me, I’ve been in your place. After about a year of experience, I have crafted a roadmap that I wish to share with you in the form of a step-by-step guide:
STEP 1: Getting to know whether you like AI
For this step, I would recommend something very basic, like:
1. Watching a YouTube video that explains the average day of a Machine Learning Engineer
2. Taking a course that explains the concept of AI and its various tools like Machine Learning, Deep Learning, etc. (I would recommend “AI for Everyone” offered by Andrew Ng, which is where I started off)
STEP 2: Coding in AI at a basic level
This can be as simple as:
1. Following a step-by-step tutorial on YouTube which helps you build a face recognition model using your integrated webcam (trust me, it’s really easy)
2. Pursuing a higher-level course that teaches you how to code in AI, and when to use which algorithm (“Machine Learning” offered by Stanford University is a favorite of many)
3. Attending a summer workshop like Inspirit AI’s AI Scholars Workshop which teaches you the basic algorithms like natural language processing, machine learning, deep learning, classification, etc., and helps you complete your first AI Project! (I had taken up this workshop earlier this year, and along with a team of passionate students like me, completed my first project, AI for Skin Cancer Detection!)
STEP 3: Working on more projects and research papers
To be honest with you, this step doesn’t add much intellectual value to your AI journey but gives you a ton of experience. And this is the exact type of experience that universities and employers look at while shortlisting candidates:
1. More projects: Now that you’ve got a gist of AI, it’s time for you to explore and come up with innovative solutions in the form of projects. As an additional challenge, try to limit the external help taken.
2. Research papers: Research papers are basically academic writing assignments that you can work on after you’ve read about a certain topic. While this remains an unexplored area in my computer science journey, the key objective is to showcase your understanding of a problem and provide viable solutions. I urge you to look these up online to know more.
STEP 4: Patience!
Yes, patience! Often in a bid to impress potential employers and universities, one can spread their wings too wide. Contrary to popular belief, employers enjoy selecting candidates that know what they’re doing really well, rather than those who do a little bit of everything.
Sure, before a certain age, it is amazing to try out new fields and experiment with what you want to do. However, after a certain point, it is important to narrow down your expertise and focus on it until you have mastered it to perfection.
Can AI take over ALL Human Jobs?
AI can be applied to almost anything. I have used the word “almost” with caution, as:
1. Nearly all jobs can be taken over by AI robots if programmed to do so. It may sound tough to believe but is entirely possible.
2. A small percentage of jobs can never be replaced by AI. I repeat NEVER. We, humans, are blessed with different characteristics that make each of us unique. In the case of sportspersons, we compete with each other based on muscular capabilities and physical limitations. As teachers and therapists, we use emotions to communicate and explain. There are many other occupations such as these. The point is until we find a way to integrate emotional intelligence into AI, it will never come close to us in terms of EQ. Besides, understanding the complications of human biology remains a tough nut to crack for artificial intelligence.
Applying AI to Different Fields of Study
The purpose for which you wish to use AI depends solely on yourself. The beauty lies in the fact that it can be used almost anywhere. To know how exactly it can be applied is not a field of my expertise, but I can assure you that a web search is all it takes. The only knowledge I can impart to you in this regard is to use AI for the good of man and to uphold all of its ethics. Remember, AI should be used as a tool, not a threat.
AI is certainly something that you should look into at least once in your life, irrespective of your age. We see it in our everyday lives, whether it is in the Face ID of our phones or in our media recommendations. In my opinion, if you follow the steps that I have enlisted above, you should be good to begin your very own AI journey (obviously with the assistance of your seniors, mentors, AI experts, and teachers).
AI for Everyone Course, by Andrew Ng
Machine Learning Course, by Andrew Ng
Presentation on My Team’s Skin Cancer Diagnosis Project
Inspirit AI’s AI Scholars Course