Field of Study: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Artificial intelligence and robotics programs prepare people to create machines or software that imitate human behavior. Students learn to create computers or software that resemble human learning or reasoning. They also learn robot design and engineering.
A new way people who live in rural areas can get medical care is through "remote medicine." Through the use of video technology, doctors and patients meet without ever leaving their offices or homes. Some remote medicine programs are flirting with the idea of performing surgery! How can they do this? Through the field of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). Theoretically, a doctor could use a touchpad or other device to mimic the movements of surgery. The doctor and patient would see each other through a live video connection. The data from the touchpad would pass to a robotic arm in the patient's location. The robotic arm has been programmed to move like a human arm and would actually perform the surgery. This is just one aspect of the growing field of AI and robotics. For decades, robots and computers have been used for everything from stapling and stacking copies in the office copier to building cars.
In AI and robotics programs, you take specialized computer science courses. You study programming languages and learn how to design different types of robots. You also study how to make computers "see" and "feel" as well as talk, move, and manipulate objects. In addition, you learn about ways to program computers to function like human brains. This means "teaching" computers to recognize patterns and even written words. In addition, you take courses in ethics and philosophy.
Some of your courses will be very technical and math-based, including advanced algebra, calculus, and geometry. Other courses focus on experimentation and creativity. In some programs, you take psychology, biology, and logic courses. After all, if you are trying to mimic the human brain, you must know the human brain first!
A few schools offer separate AI and robotics degrees. Typically these are graduate-level programs through computer science departments. In some cases, undergraduates can minor in AI and robotics through a general computer science degree. In addition, a few schools have separate centers for the study of AI and robotics that offer graduate-level degrees. They also offer opportunities for undergraduate students to take AI and robotics courses and do research.
It is important to note that about 40 schools offer robotics programs, starting at the associate degree level. Typically these programs focus on the use of robots for engineering and manufacturing purposes. The course work usually focuses on developing technical skills. Many of these programs are transferable to a four-year college or university. However, your best bet for studying AI and robotics is by going to graduate school after you earn your bachelor's degree.
Most people with degrees in AI and robotics work as computer scientists. You can work for specialized labs at private companies and universities. You can choose to focus on areas such as remote medicine or automation for industries such as car manufacturing and aviation.