Why is AI Such a Big Deal Right Now?

Have you ever wondered why there is so much buzz about Artificial Intelligence (AI) these days? I know I have! AI is present in almost every facet of our lives, from automated chat bots to smart home devices.

Discussions about AI are everywhere too! There are newspapers, magazines and academic journal articles, professional (and not so professional) blogs, books and eBooks, YouTube videos, courses on Lynda.com and so much more. The information available is almost overwhelming, so where do you begin your journey into understanding AI? Lucky for you, EPL has a plethora of resources on the topic of AI that will get you up to speed in no time. Follow these three simple steps and you’ll be on your way to understanding the wonderful (and sometimes alarming) world of AI.

1. Watch a course on Lynda.com

I knew that Artificial Intelligence is a big deal, but I didn’t know why. I highly recommend the Lynda.com course, Artificial Intelligence Foundations: Thinking Machines, which breaks down basic AI concepts and is easy to follow along. After this course, I had a basic understanding of the key concepts of AI, like the difference between strong AI and weak AI, machine learning and more.

  • Strong AI (or General AI) is what you see in Sci-Fi movies. Strong AI is an artificial being that behaves just like a human, with all the emotions and quirks that come with humanity. Humans have not created a Strong AI being that will take over the world—yet.
  • Weak AI (or Narrow AI) is more common and is the driving force behind systems like Siri and Google Home. Weak AI is great at narrow tasks, such as sorting pictures on your computer, checking the weather or scheduling a lunch date.
  • Machine Learning (ML) is a little different. ML is a program that can learn and identify patterns by analyzing large amounts of data. ML’s advantage is that it is self-learning, much like AI, but the data it analyzes is usually specific. ML is used to create more efficiency in sectors like medicine and construction.

Watch Artificial Intelligence Foundations: Thinking Machines for FREE with your library card to learn more.

2. Read, read, read (you knew that was coming, right?)

EPL has so many options for learning more about AI. To help you get started we have created two booklists:

3. Subscribe to Edmonton tech news

If you prefer your AI information to come to you, sign up for Taproot Edmonton’s Tech Roundup, a weekly collection of the latest tech headlines from Edmonton’s tech community. Edmonton is one of the top AI hubs for research and innovation in the world, with the University of Alberta leading the way. Alberta companies, like AltaML, and research institutions, like The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Aimii), are developing a strong AI and Machine Learning sector for Alberta. Taproot collects all the important Edmonton tech news about AI and more, so you don’t have to.

Read More About AI

What's next?

If you have watched, read and learned all there is to know about AI that is available through EPL and you still want more, check out the variety of great resources, courses and meetups that are happening throughout Edmonton. Start up Edmonton often hosts meet ups and workshops on a variety of tech topics. Amii, NAIT, the University of Alberta and other intuitions also host conferences, workshops and courses on AI and Machine Learning.

Now that you’re armed with the best information resources on AI that Edmonton has to offer, I wish you the best of luck with your foray into the exciting world of AI!

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Edmonton Public Library