I want to understand artificial intelligence well enough to just write about it: how far do I need to go in my education?

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I'm a cognitive science major, but we don't get into very heavy duty AI-related classes or classes on machine learning. The track I'm on doesn't emphasize math and CS nearly as much as it emphasizes philosophy, linguistics, and psychology. My background in math is fairly poor, although I have a decent background in symbolic logic and am now working on bettering my understanding of linguistics.

I don't think I want to work directly with the development of AI; if I'm being honest with myself, I don't know if I have the hard STEM skills to make it. I would love, however, to understand AI just enough that I can keep up to date with developments in the field (aka, be able to parse out the good stuff from the bad, and not be totally lost when reading books and papers), and also so that I can work with AI more tangentially. What do I mean by work with AI more tangentially? This could be through doing legal/policy work (AI ethics and AI safety research is a big interest of mine), writing about AI as a science journalist, getting involved in futurist-type work that would benefit from a better understanding of AI, even writing about AI from a fictional but realistic perspective (I love science fiction and creative writing as hobbies.).

How far do I need to go in my education – formal or self-taught – to understand AI well enough that I can work with it in these kinds of capacities? I do see individuals with very weak backgrounds in AI working as futurists, science journalists, and even policy advisors, and I can't help but think these people shouldn't be making statements or analyses about AI if they don't seem to understand the fundamentals. This leads to the possibility of propagating misunderstandings, making bad predictions, and misrepresenting AI to the general public. I wouldn't want to be this kind of person.

How far do you guys think I need to go in my education in order to understand AI well enough that I can write about it? What should I focus on? Again, I don't think I'd want to do work related to the actual development of AI, but l I'd love to work with it in other ways.

submitted by /u/2vhe4
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