Want to be a software developer? Time to learn AI and data science

Data science skills will become more important for coding as software is 'trained' via AI

Want to be a software developer? Time to learn AI and data science
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Artificial intelligence is affecting everything from automobiles to health care to home automation and even sports. It's also going to have a measurable impact on software development, with developers becoming more like data scientists, an AI official with Nvidia believes.

AI and deep learning will mean changes in how software is written, said Jim McHugh, vice president and general manager for Nvidia's DGX-1 supercomputer, which is used in deep learning and accelerated analytics. The long-standing paradigm of developers spending months simply writing features will change, he explained.

With the advent of AI, data is incorporated to create the insight for software. "We're using data to train the software to make it more intelligent," said McHugh. Data will drive the software release because the data is going to give the software the ability to interact.

While parameters like interface and application flow will still be needed, data will drive the feature set in decisions on how the software evolves. Releases will be based on the software being trained to another level; updates will be based on new data sets and experiences.

There has been speculation about smart machines reducing the demand for coders, but McHugh emphasized there will be a need for coders with different skills. Developers will curate the data and take software through the process of learning by itself, writing Python scripts, perhaps, to interact with software. "Coders are going to change their skill sets," with more data science and AI skills, McHugh said.

Aside from its impacts on software development, McHugh said at the recent Global Artificial Intelligence Conference in Silicon Valley that AI would impact the internet of things (IoT), providing intelligent applications to work with IoT devices and process the collected data. He also emphasized AI's impact in areas like driving, with cars taught to drive themselves and becoming aware of the environment around them. "It has to perceive all this information," such as what cars are near it and whether it can weave in and out of traffic, he noted. In the health care field, meanwhile, artificial intelligence will be deployed in advanced diagnostics, McHugh added.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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