What Does AI Stand For?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Have you ever wondered what does AI stand for? It’s one of the most in-demand fields and a buzzword across industries. Find out more about what the future looks like in AI.

[Featured Image]: An AI engineer is sitting at her desktop computer.

AI stands for artificial intelligence, which is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines like computer systems. You can find the use of artificial intelligence in health care, the automotive industry, the financial industry, and more.  

How AI works 

At the heart of AI are algorithms. Humans set up algorithms in a computerized system, which are clear sets of instructions that the computer should follow to solve a problem or complete a task. The algorithms are intelligent and complex in that each time they receive input and process data, they learn patterns and characteristics that help them make even more intelligent decisions as time goes on.

One example of how AI works is the autocorrect feature you probably use on your smartphone when typing a text. Because a smartphone keyboard is small, it is easy to make mistakes. If you type an "i" but meant to type a letter near it, such as "o" to write the word "cold," your phone would access its dictionaries and likely autocorrect "cild" to "cold." Autosuggest is also an AI feature your smartphone uses. Over time, your phone will learn the words you type most often and auto-suggest them for you, including names of family and friends or company jargon you often use. If it suggests a word you're not looking for or you change what it has autocorrected, it learns from these experiences and becomes more accurate in its future suggestions.

AI uses different technologies to carry out these and many other tasks, such as speech recognition, word translation, maps and navigation, image search, and more. These technologies include machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, natural language processing, computer vision, and cognitive computing.   

Discover uses for AI  

AI is used to design machines that will perform human-like tasks. Some common uses you may be familiar with include self-driving cars, chatbots, e-payments, facial recognition software used on smartphones, and smart assistants like Siri or Alexa. These are all examples of AI in action. 

Enterprises are using AI to optimize productivity in many ways such as:

  • Eliminating repetitive tasks for employees

  • Allowing for a more efficient supply chain

  • Increasing cybersecurity 

  • Generating quick responses to customer needs or questions

These uses look a little different based on the industry. Some artificial intelligence examples of specific applications of AI by industry include: 

  • Health care: AI-assisted robotic surgery, telemedicine

  • Robotics: Vision control, motor control, learning, cooperative behavior

  • Engineering: Fault diagnosis, predictive maintenance, intelligent control systems

  • Marketing: Tailored and targeted messaging

  • Customer service: Chatbots 

Work in AI: Examples of careers in AI 

Many career options are available in the field of AI. Some people get their start in machine learning and move into more specialized jobs. Because so many industries use a form of AI, you might find quite a few possibilities if you’re considering a career in this field. 

A few examples of careers in AI include: 

  • Machine learning engineer 

  • Robotics engineer 

  • Computer vision engineer 

  • Data scientist 

  • Computer scientist 

  • Director of analytics 

Many careers in AI pay very well. Even entry-level positions earn an average of $85,538 a year in the US, according to ZipRecruiter [1]. Examples of some entry-level job titles in AI are junior data analyst, information systems analyst, and junior imagery analyst. 

Mid- to upper-level careers in AI include jobs specific to machine learning, like machine learning engineering or machine learning software engineering. Expect a range of $89,000 to $181,000 a year [2], depending on your location and industry, as a machine learning engineer. 

Educational pathways for careers in AI 

Since AI is such a fast-growing, emerging field, there’s not necessarily a hard and fast pathway. There are many, many ways to get into AI. 

In artificial intelligence, the qualifications will vary based on the job. Since there are many branches of AI, expect some variations in required skills. Most jobs in AI do, however, require a bachelor’s degree to get started in the field. According to ZipRecruiter, common degree pathways will include a focus on mathematics, engineering, programming languages, coding, and science, to name a few. 

Earn degrees

While you don’t always need a degree to work in AI, many entry-to-mid-level careers in the industry ask that you hold a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field like mathematics, statistics, or information technology. An associate degree or technical boot camp may be sufficient to get a job as a software engineer working in AI. However, upper-level positions will likely require master’s or even doctoral degrees. 

You might choose to pursue an AI degree or a related field, as there are many individuals working in AI with different backgrounds with a variety of degrees.

You will, however, notice some common coursework for students who know they want to earn a degree that might direct them toward a career in AI. Some core concepts you’re likely to study while earning a degree to work in the field of AI include: 

  • Machine learning 

  • Deep learning 

  • Natural language processes

  • AI representation and problem-solving  

  • Computer vision and image analysis 

Gain certifications 

Certifications offer another potential pathway to careers in AI. Some useful certifications for anyone seeking a career in artificial intelligence are certifications that teach programming languages. Many employers in the field of AI ask that applicants show proficiency in up to five programming languages. 

If you hold a bachelor’s degree, or no degree at all, you may want to get certified in areas specific to artificial intelligence, like machine learning or deep learning, to help you move further into the field of AI. Examples of AI certifications include:

  • Certified Artificial Intelligence Engineer (CAIE™)

  • Certified Artificial Intelligence Consultant (CAIC™)

  • Certified Artificial Intelligence Scientist (CAIS™)

  • Artificial Intelligence Engineer (AIE™)

Uncover the future of AI 

The need for artificial intelligence is growing by the day. More industries are adopting AI to complete important tasks and keep systems secure. It’s even been said time and again that artificial intelligence will change the world. 

Experts agree that within the next decade, we can expect to see autonomous cars, AI-powered robots working alongside humans, digitized textbooks, and virtual nursing assistants, just to name a few examples. 

Take the next steps 

If the field of artificial intelligence sounds like an exciting new adventure, get started today by researching some jobs within the field that you’d like to pursue. 

Enroll in a university to earn your bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field, earn some certifications in an area of specialty, or learn the basics of how AI works. Getting into this industry now is a potential way to set yourself up for success in a career that could last a lifetime. 

To find online courses designed specifically for individuals who are interested in working in artificial intelligence, look through the many offerings on Coursera. You’ll find basic courses like Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and AI for Everyone, as well as more advanced options.



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Article sources


ZipRecruiter. "Entry Level Artificial Intelligence Jobs, https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Jobs/Entry-Level-Artificial-Intelligence." Accessed June 2, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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