When most people think of Computer Science, they usually only think of programming. However, as a Computer Science student, you will have a lot of career options to choose from. If you’re like me, then you’ll want to choose one of the areas of Computer Science that will have a positive impact and potentially change the world. However, before we talk about these areas, let’s get clear on our language.
What Is An ‘Area’ of Computer Science?
When we talk about an ‘area’ of Computer Science, we’re referring to the different fields or specializations of Computer Science. Therefore, ‘area’, ‘field’, and ‘specialization’ can be used interchangeably. Examples of areas of computer science include computer programming, networking, and web development, to name a few.
But we want to look at more than just a few. In fact, we want to look specifically at the ones that are changing the world the most. However, before we can decide on these areas, it would be beneficial to first take a look at all of the areas of Computer Science.
Areas of Computer Science
There are many fields of Computer Science. I won’t talk about all of these in detail, just the ones that stand to have the greatest impact on the world. For simplicities sake, I’ve created a general list of all of the areas of Computer Science:
- Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)
- Algorithms and Complexity
- Architecture and Organization
- Cloud Computing
- Database Management Systems
- Data Science and Analysis
- Graphics and Visuals
- Networks and Communication
- Numerical Analysis
- Operating Systems
- Programming Languages
- Quantum Computing
- Software Engineering
- Web/Mobile Development
Areas of Computer Science That Are Changing The World
No one can deny the impact that Computer Science has had on the world. However, there are four areas of Computer Science in particular that I believe will change the world the most in the coming years. These four areas are Artificial Intelligence, Networks and Communications, Quantum Computing, and Robotics. Here are the reasons why these technologies are game-changers.
There are two types of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). There is narrow A.I. which facilitates facial recognition software, customer service bots, recommendation systems, and even the self-driving systems in vehicles. One the other hand, there is general A.I. which we don’t really have any good examples yet. However, Sophia is as about as close as we can come at the moment.
Sophia is likely the most advanced human-like robot that exists today. Yet, she’s not quite artificially generally intelligent (A.G.I.). A.G.I., once achieved, will either usher humanity into a golden era or it may destroy us. I suppose it’s a coin toss. Although, Elon Musk seems to regard it as a real threat. He feels that regulations need to be imposed so that research and development can be done responsibly.
Networks and Communication
Most of us have a computer network in their house. If you have WiFi, then you have a home network. This network connects all of your devices and your modem connects your network to the internet. Offices and schools have similar, yet larger networks that connect them to the internet. The Internet is the largest network in the world, connecting nearly every computer.
The fact that we’re able to connect to everyone else in the world so quickly and efficiently speaks volumes to the power of the internet. To be fair, the applications we use are what allows us the experience. However, when you consider that virtually all of the information known to mankind is just a click away, you realize the magnitude of the internet. Without it, the world wouldn’t have been able to experience such unprecedented progress.
A computer is a machine whose primary function is processing data. At the lowest level, all of the data that computers process are either 0’s or 1’s, also known as binary. The computer reads sequence after sequence of these 0’s and 1’s and translates it into everything you see, hear, and interact with on your computer. A supercomputer is a cluster of computers that allows data processing exponentially quicker.
A quantum computer, however, is something different from either of those. Quantum computing combines computer science, math, and physics. The quantum state allows multiple realities at the same time. Thus, quantum computers not only process 0’s and 1’s which are called ‘bits’ but also processes something called a quantum bit or ‘qubit.’ A qubit is a 1 and 0 at the same time.
Quantum computers process data faster than supercomputers. That’s why they’re so important. The magic behind the speed is something called quantum entanglement which allows nearly instant transmission between qubits. Progress is still being made in this area of Computer Science and I’ll be looking out for updates.
Modern robotics took off in the latter half of the last century. They’ve become crucial in manufacturing and will only become more efficient. However, robotics will automate more than just manufacturing. Amazon announced last year that they’ll soon begin using drones to deliver packages.
Not to mention the self-driving vehicle revolution that’s happening right now. And what are self-driving vehicles with if not really cool robots. Anyhow, think of all the shipping that will be automated when cars and trucks become autonomous.
It will be a technological marvel and it will happen this decade. However, it will come at the cost of mass unemployment. As a whole, humanity will become wealthier but without social systems in place, many will face hard times along the way.
All areas of computer science are important and some are particularly so. While these fields have the potential to do great good in the world, they also come with risks. Nevertheless, I’m confident that the benefits will outweigh the unintended consequences. I’m also confident in humanity’s ability to work their way through their problems and toward a better future.