Oliver Shave talks to us about the future of Artificial Intelligence, what he's currently doing, and how he feels he is creating an impact...

What was your reason to study MSc Artificial Intelligence?
After the mass unemployment triggered by Covid 19 I decided that it was the perfect time to start a master's degree to improve my programming skillset further and make myself a better candidate for future employers. 

I applied for the MSc in Artificial Intelligence after researching the topic, I found that this area of computer science was quickly becoming more prominent in our lives. This could be seen in the form of vehicles getting partial self-driving capabilities or with more common occurrences such as phones being able to understand our words and perform actions with them. After considering all those examples and more, I decided that artificial intelligence is an industry I'd like to join. 
What attracted you to come to Aston?

The course offered to teach me the basics of many different areas of the subject and then allow me to specialise in one by completing a dissertation. Additionally, I was offered a partial scholarship based on receiving a first-class degree for my Computing BSc which amounted to £2,500 off.

How have you found the support you received at Aston?

Whenever I was struggling with assignments or needed a lecturer to go through work with me, I could easily arrange a zoom meeting or send them an email to get the help needed. Their responses were quick too, so I was not stuck on a problem for too long- this was really reassuring. 

How do you think you can make a difference with your degree?

Artificial Intelligence has the ability to improve everyone's lives in a variety of ways such as convenience, leisure, and health.

I currently work as a KTP Associate for Thames Laboratories and we are working on a project organised by Aston University. In my role I am developing a multi-objective scheduling system using evolutionary algorithms to reduce the distance and time engineers travel during the day which in turn should reduce the carbon emissions of their vehicles

My job has allowed me to apply the skills and theory learnt in my MSc course directly to the project. This includes conducting literature reviews, designing and developing the system, as well as managing a project with multiple deadlines and requirements.

Have you worked on any projects that you are proud of?

During my dissertation I was able to simulate autonomous vehicles in a realistic environment coordinating with each other by creating platoons within a road network to reduce congestion. Although the results were promising, the project was well before its time as autonomous vehicles must achieve full self-driving capabilities before platooning can be applied to the real world.

What do you think the future is for Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence will become the most important industry in the future. Every task people can do will eventually be replaced by an algorithm or robot, no matter how complicated.
What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence has started intertwining with our lives mostly in the last decade. Looking back, Siri (one of the most popular uses of Artificial Intelligence) was only created 11 years ago. This gives you the ability to join a newly popular and expanding industry which also would allow you to stay at the forefront of technology and innovation. Artificial intelligence engineers are not bound to one specific task so they can take on a variety of interesting projects during their careers.