In a post-COVID-19 world: AI takes over BE and B. Tech programmes

The rapidly evolving world economy has created a greater need for digital adoption. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has not only made daily lives more comfortable but also, as an aid to medicine, finance and defence, it is indicative of the direction of future progress.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this adoption process considerably due to the need for minimising physical transactions and social distancing. AI and Data science have affected our lives in many ways.

With this paradigm shift towards digitisation, a thorough understanding of the current and emerging technology will aid the adoption of these technologies and provide greater preparedness to address its shortcomings.

A handful of developed nations have already implemented a study of new-age technologies from an undergraduate level, and our country is by no means behind.

Covid-19 and the Impact of Data Analytics

With the spread of the Covid-19, health organisations are in the process of finding a vaccine and identifying infected citizens. In such cases, AI and data science play a major role in reducing the burden of these healthcare organisations.

In the past, due to the lack of powerful computing devices, statisticians were constrained to a limited number of predictions. However, with the advent of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, there has been quite a progress in this regard.

These facilitate predicting the vulnerable sections within a population with a high degree of accuracy. It also aids the distribution of PPEs, ICU beds, ventilators, pharmaceutical drugs, doctors, among others, by accurately predicting the different infection zones in an area.

Furthermore, the use of this technology has also helped the law enforcement agencies and police to restrict the lockdown to containment zones where needed.

The role of Educational Institutions

Several leading educational institutions are designing and delivering high-quality courses to train their students in Data Sciences and AI. While most institutions offer these courses at the postgraduate level, some of them are looking to offer diverse courses at the graduate levels as well.

Universities must introduce more specialised courses in AI/ML and Data Science in addition to the traditional BE/B. Tech courses to meet the rising demand of data science practitioners among the major industries.

Around 30 years ago, we saw a massive growth of Computer Science and Information Technology as a discipline, and a similar trend in academia is being observed for AI/ML and Data Science in today’s world.

The traditional BE/BTech programs will continue to exist and may be reshaped to integrate relevant AI/ML elective courses. This will equip the engineers to use data science techniques more effectively in their respective fields.

Situations like the current Covid-19 pandemic have been a testament to the fact that the problems of the present as well as the future, can be solved incredibly faster by properly leveraging the power of AI and data sciences. Hence, it is of primary importance for the educational institutions to incorporate Data Science and AI courses into their academic curricula.

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Source: Higher Education Digest

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