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Top tools for learning more about AI

Stay on top of the latest in AI research and training with these tips and resources.

Artificial Intelligence has the means to make repetitive tasks more accurate, work longer and more efficiently, and do things we are no longer capable or incapable of doing safely. Perhaps having the ability to automate a task or function we no longer want to do based on personal preference would be of great value. Clearly one or more of these aspects would appear attractive to someone.

As with emerging technology understanding it at is core is key to creating the building blocks for development and increasing the knowledge base of any technology professional. Whether as a hobbyist or part of a business plan, sourcing the right information is key to your success. Here are some expert tips:

  • Current Information. Making the right choice is the key objectives to finding a company or organization that is keeping up with field of technology, as it continues to change. Technology itself is not static, so your source of information cannot be static either.
  • Resources. The company should offer a variety of resources. Not just videos and white papers but references that are meaningful. The resources should point to authorities or experts in the field even if they don't directly associate themselves with the organization. A resource that can present an unbiased view into the technology is what you're looking for.
  • Community. A resource that has an active community means that you will be well supported on your journey to learn AI. Generally there isn't a road that is untraveled with learning about a new technology. Meaning, if you run into a problem you are probably not the only one, and someone in the community could be willing to get you back on the right track.
  • Support. A resource with a solid support is parallel to a good community. A good technology resource is keenly interested in feedback from its users. Bug reporting or tracking in a support forum shows that the organization is interested in making their technology better. It's always a good measure to check the posting date to see when things are reported and how quickly they get a response. Even with free support, companies still have some level of responsibility to speak to their user community and future developers.

Let's take a look at what Microsoft is doing in the AI field by starting at its source site: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/AI/references-for-developers

Microsoft has taken the opportunity to source several areas of interest which will appeal to most developers: Bots, Cognitive Services, Core Infrastructure and Data Analytics. Each source comes with documentation as well as sample code.

At first glance at any of the topics mentioned, the detailed documentation will give a brief overview and an explanation of the system requirements necessary to develop this specific AI type. This information does two things that are important to a developer. First it explains what it does, often with a visual or video overview. Second, it provides detailed instructions for setting up your own environment. Once you are ready to begin it doesn't leave you hanging as it provides working sample code. Navigating throughout the site you will see real world examples as well as read about some of the pioneers in the field of AI. Along with a rich community, Microsoft's AI Build does a good job at providing what you need to get started in this space.

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