Machine learning is a branch of AI and computer science that is focused on using data and algorithms to imitate the way humans learn. This is the definition you will find on Google. Adisa Bolić, who has been a tershouse coworker for about a year, deals with this branch of AI, and she explained, in layman's terms, exactly what she does and when she decided that this would be her career path. "Although people perceive machine learning engineers as people who make robots that walk and talk, they are actually much more everyday AIs, such as the YouTube recommendation algorithm. AI algorithms are actually algorithms that teach the computer to make smart conclusions based on previous data and thus can predict some things that will happen in the future." Adisa continues to explain that machine learning is extremely popular today, especially with the release of chatGPT, and computer scientists and mathematicians today often opt for this branch of AI because it is profitable but also extremely interesting, according to Adisa.
Given that we live in the 21st century, in which all the AI fantasies predicted by sci-fi books and films from the 90s of the last century are coming true, it was not unreasonable to ask Adisa whether we are in danger of general "robotization" and what are the chances that, in layman's terms, at some point, robots will replace humans in everything. "That is a difficult question. I believe that such danger exists, but that we are not even close to it. At the moment, it is very difficult for AI to replace humans in jobs such as programming, since it does not have that human factor and does not know whether something is correct or not." We went on to talk about a realistic AI future that our generations could remember. "In general, in AI there is one algorithm that people call a general problem solver, or AI that can solve any problem. Today, scientists are debating whether it is realistic for this to happen because it would mean that everything would be robotized, and that AI would be able to solve whatever problem it was given, but I don't think it will happen for sure in the next 100 years. "
Preparing for the interview with Adisa, of course, I had to google her a bit, even though I already knew quite a lot about her. I found out that not only was she the European champion in mathematics as a high school student, but she later earned two gold badges. I was interested in whether and how this helped her in her career path. "It helped of course. That was the impetus for me to do what I do today, and if I hadn't developed a lot of logic through mathematics and competitions, I probably wouldn't have made a name for myself either at university or later at work. The main thing is to develop logic or problem-solving." Adisa adds that being a good student later helped her with her first business opportunities, but also with developing work habits and discipline.
Adisa is currently working on several projects. In addition to her role as an assistant at PMF, she also works on two AI projects. “In one company we work on developing an Ai that helps with presentations; for example you make a presentation, and the AI arranges all the elements to make it look nice. In teh second company I work for, we deal with AI, which is closer to software; we make AI models that run on small chips, i.e. cameras. These are models that can detect people entering the building, i.e. count people. It's a small device that can be installed anywhere, it doesn't need electricity or batteries."
Adisa says that her favorite part of the working day is working with young talented mathematicians that she prepares for competitions and who really love mathematics as much as she does. "Working with young people has helped me a lot to learn how to explain something to someone, because that skill is not only needed by someone who is an assistant or a professor. You also need it at work because you have to be able to explain to someone how you did something, it is especially difficult if you are explaining to someone who is not an engineer, you have to know how to get down to that level." At the end of the conversation, we touched on her experience with tershouse and the community, considering that Adisa met her colleague Vedin at the very beginning, with whom she now collaborates on a joint project. "I am always happy to recommend tershouse, especially to colleagues from the IT world, because my experience is more than positive, tershouse is a place of productive work and cooperation."