Emerging Fields In Computer Science

The last decade has seen an unconventional rapid growth in the field of Computer Science. Once considered a specific domain, ‘Computer Science’ is now an umbrella term used to encapsulate multiple domains. The advent in technology, faster processors, terabytes of memory has aided the system’s progression from a data generation source to a data consumable sink. A couple of decades into the 21st century, the emerging fields in Computer Science include:

1) Artificial Intelligence: This domain aims to make machines more ‘intelligent’. It encompasses the ways in which a machine could be trained to ‘perceive’ its environment, and then take an action most suitable at maximizing it’s chance to success. As of today, many AI technologies have made their way into human lives. Self-driving cars, strategic game systems such as ‘Chess’ and ‘Go’, understanding human speech are some of the applications of Artificial Intelligence. The future implications of the expansion of this domain still remains a mystery. It enforces the researchers to ask themselves a few important questions including : a) Can a machine solve any problem solvable by human beings? b) Can ‘intelligent’ machines ever pose a threat to humanity? And c) Can a machine have a ‘mind’, ‘emotional states’ exactly as a human being can have?

2) Machine Learning: This domain aims to make machines ‘learn’ with experiences, without being explicitly programmed to do so. According to the famous author and a leading researcher on the domain,Tom Mitchell defines algorithms studied in ‘Machine Learning’ as, ‘A program is said to learn from experience, with respect to a set of tasks, if it’s performance improves with time’. Spam detection, Product Recommendations, Virtual Personal Assistants are a few of the infinitely many possible applications of Machine Learning in day to day life.

3) Data Science: This domain is an interdisciplinary field that aims to combine scientific methods, processes and systems to extract knowledge or insights from data in various forms. It is a budding field in Computer Science, that is attracting many young minds to dive in. Applications of Data Science has spanned multiple tasks including ‘Internet Search’, where petabytes of data is handled to give the best possible search query result. Image and Speech Recognition, Gaming are a few other domains where Data Science is considered a boon.

4) Natural Language Processing: This domain aims to facilitate the interaction between computers with human (“natural”) languages. It programs computers to usefully process and understand Natural Languages, used by humans in their day to day lives. The applications of this domain are tremendous. Automatic Summarization of an article, Sentiment Analysis of user’s opinion, Question Answering are many interesting works that have been done in this domain. Much of the research is left to be done in these domains. Better algorithms, newer applications of these fields are arising daily throughout the world. This makes these domains extremely attractive to Computer Science students, as well as job aspirants. These technologies are the keys of entire human race. Honorable use of these technologies can lead to multiple benefits for human beings in the fields of Medical Science, business expansions and every other domain. But it is our ethical responsibility to not misuse them. Unethical uses of these technologies can lead to multiple security, privacy issues that can be disastrous to humanity.

– Nitin Vashisth

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