Day in the life of an AI expert
When artificial intelligence is mentioned, many people think of flying cars, killer robots from movies, and machines that replace jobs.
However, the reality of AI is very different, and Edward McDonnell, director of CeADAR, Ireland’s National Center for Applied Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, spends a lot of time highlighting how it can help businesses and the details.
So what does a day in the life of an AI expert look like?
Mr McDonnell told BreakingNews.ie: “It’s a very dynamic environment, which is reflected in the AI in that it’s dynamic and changes quickly. There’s a lot of variety and that’s something which I really like.
It’s definitely not a 9-5 job, it’s more like 9-9 because there’s so much to do in a day.
“The days are quite long, it’s definitely not a 9 to 5 job, it’s more like a 9 to 9, because there’s so much to try and get done in a day.”
Practical examples from the companies Mr. McDonnell and CeADAR work with include technology that summarizes large videos, optimizes processes and predicts when expensive machines will need to be repaired.
“One of the companies we help is summarizing information. It takes one hour videos, find five minutes summary, now technology can automatically summarize documents and videos.
“We’re totally bombarded with content, so to sum it up like that, it’s great. We’re helping other companies improve their process, quality of service, say by making widgets to reduce errors.
“One of the big projects that worked well for us was being able to predict when machinery would fail. One of the areas was the pumps on the ocean floor controlling the flow of oil, if you can say that a pump will fail two months before… AI can help with that.
“We have worked with several wind farm companies in Ireland, so we can forecast the power output days in advance as they want to be able to balance power generation.”
He added: “Even for mundane things, a marketing company may want their customer database to be divided into different types.
“The one that’s a bit different is that we work with a company that makes vertical climbing robots, they’re very small, but they have four big suction cups, so if you put it on a wall or a metal surface, it climbs…he has a camera, and he looks for flaws or flaws with a metal container, an airplane body, things like that.
“We work with Mana, the drone delivery company, so we work with them to help the drones figure out where to drop off deliveries…whether it’s pizza or whatever and then back out.”
You’re never stuck doing one thing for six months, it always changes.
Mr. McDonnell said one of his favorite things about AI is its expansive nature, which means he meets people from all walks of life and from different fields every day.
“You’re never stuck doing one thing for six months, it always changes.”
A typical day starts with defining the centre’s strategy and implementing it, which takes up a lot of Mr. McDonnell’s schedule.
AI is not something to be feared and can help the Irish bus…
“There’s a lot of time spent meeting with companies, talking to them and helping them move forward with AI. There’s also spreading the message about AI.
“There is a lot of external committee work with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Government Business Digital Advisory Forum.
“Then there are the day-to-day activities of running the center, I spend quite a bit of time writing proposals for funding. The other thing is that the field is changing rapidly, we are seeing a lot of different companies coming in all areas , satellite and pharmaceuticals, retail.
“It’s fascinating to hear all the different stories and the very smart men and women who run these companies and know their business inside and out.”