Top 5 things to know about data science

Data science developments are expected to increase in 2020. Tom Merritt lists what you should know about data science, as well as artificial intelligence.

Top 5 things to know about data science

Data science, and of course, artificial intelligence (AI). For some, those words mean opportunity and promise. For others, they are frightening terms for something they really need to figure out soon. And for a few others, they are buzzwords to abuse with abandon. 2020 won't see any lack of data science developments. Here are five things to know about data science.

  1. It means money. According to the National Venture Capital Association, 1,356 AI-related companies raised $18.457 billion in 2019 in the US. That's up from the $16.8 billion in 2018.
  2. It means getting published. Last summer, Senior Fellow & SVP at Google AI Jeff Dean calculated that around 100 new machine learning papers appeared on Arrive every day by the end of 2018--and that wasn't the peak.
  3. Data scientists are beginning to specialize. Engineering roles focus on data and machine learning in production systems. Science roles focus more on analytics and decision support.
  4. Executives are starting to be seen as a bottleneck to effective data science. If your customer doesn't understand the product, it just doesn't work as well. Companies like McKinsey are offering training to help executives understand data science better and what they can get out of it.
  5. Everyone agrees ethics are important, but nobody agrees how it should best be handled. The European Union is making some headway with its High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence. MIT launched the new Schwarzman College of Computing with a promise to transform ethical considerations, but there is no widespread agreement about who the authority on ethics is.

Data science and AI are both more and less important than people say, depending on who's talking. I hope this helps you get a little better handle on where it's going.

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Image: iStockphoto/Artem Peretiatko