AI Literacy 101

What is it and why do we all need it?

Not many people truly understand AI, what it is, and what it takes to make it work. Many organizations have started but don’t really know how to make it work and many data scientists are frustrated in their job. We need to do something.

About forty years ago we were in a similar situation. Back then we were in a phase where most people lacked computer literacy. We lived in a time where only a small group of people were technically capable of building computers, creating software, and connecting the soft- and the hardware. Sounds familiar? Back in those days, most office workers didn’t use a computer, they didn’t know what it was, how it could benefit them. Neither did they understand the complexity of building software, they were scared of losing their jobs or felt simply too good to use them.

turned off Macintosh
Photo by Matt Mech on Unsplash

Fast forward to today — we are practically all computer literate now. We know how to use our computers even though we don’t work in IT, we are users of that what somebody else has built. We don’t need to be able to look under the hood, but we understand what we need, what it takes to implement new systems, and how to engage with the software.

We are currently living in the 80s of AI – there is a small but growing group of practitioners that are able to build AI systems, not all of these systems work for multiple reasons and not all are useful for the end-users. Why? Most employees in companies don’t know what AI is, how it could benefit them, or how they could engage with such a system. At the same time management is not able to provide the needed resources, because they are simply not aware of what it takes to generate value with AI today. They need to become AI literate.

AI literacy is about knowing what AI is, about how AI can benefit youwhat it takes to make AI systems work, and ultimately how to engage with AI solutions. Without AI literacy in a company, it will be hard to pull of AI projects at scale to success. And I am truly convinced AI literacy is what all of us will need in the future. This is why we need to start educating our management and fellow colleagues about AI now and start closing the gap we currently face between business and data science.

How will you contribute to AI Literacy in your organization? Are you in need of ideas? Then have a look at my article on how to educate your boss on AI.

About me: I am an Analytics Consultant and Director of Studies for “AI Management” at a local business school. I am on a mission to help organizations generating business value with AI and creating an environment in which Data Scientists can thrive.