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What does an Artificial Intelligence Specialist actually do?

In mid-December, LinkedIn revealed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) Specialist was the top emerging job for 2020; since then this job has been in high demand. This begs the question of what AI specialists actually do, and what the job entails. What are the exact skills and knowledge businesses need from AI Specialists?

Artificial Intelligence is a huge buzz word, and is discussed regularly in the media, sometimes conjuring images of robot workers and other futuristic scenarios. We want to break through the AI haze and confusion, and drill down on what AI actually is; if these specialists are so in demand this calendar year, what is it that they will actually be delivering for small business?

Dynamic Business has previously explored what AI is, and today we are building on that understanding. with an interview with Jeff Olson, who is Head of Applied AI & Analytics for ANZ at Cognizant. We have then asked the same questions from ChatGPT too.

We ask Jeff and ChatGPT what the role actually entails, including the daily tasks, the skills required and most importantly how a person in this role can really drive a business forward.

What actually is an Artificial Intelligence Specialist? What do they do?


“An AI specialist is someone who is familiar with the major AI technologies and platforms and knows how to implement them. They can build services such as chatbots, do image recognition and/or natural language processing. The leading edge of high-value AI is with people who are utilising technologies such as deep learning and evolutionary AI. There is still significant progress that can be made with advanced statistical modelling.

Businesses have data and they need to make decisions. The most effective “AI specialists” help their customers make better decisions with their data. The key contribution of an AI specialist is applying these new techniques and technologies to business problems, and solving them in new and creative ways that provide greater insight, accuracy and consistency.”


“An Artificial Intelligence (AI) Specialist is a professional who specializes  in creating, developing, and implementing AI systems and technologies. They work to design intelligent algorithms and models that can learn from data and make predictions or decisions based on that learning.

AI specialists typically have expertise in areas such as machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics. They may work in a variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and technology.

The goal of an AI specialist is to leverage the power of machine learning and other AI technologies to solve complex problems, automate tasks, and create more intelligent systems and applications.”

Can you run us through the day-to-day tasks of an AI specialist?


“An effective AI specialist spends the greatest part of their day understanding the data, formatting the problem and making sure the solution addresses the business opportunity. Actually modelling and coding take less time, although working through which technologies and approaches work best in a particular situation is often the truest skill of an AI specialist. We are working with a major telecommunications company, for example, building smart devices that can detect and understand words in pictures taken from arbitrary angles. Developing robust and reliable AI for those requirements is a rewarding challenge.

Most importantly, an effective Artificial Intelligence specialist is always focused on business outcome.”


“The specific tasks that an AI specialist might undertake can vary depending on their role and the needs of their employer or clients. However, some common responsibilities of an AI specialist might include:

  • Conducting research to identify new AI applications and techniques
  • Developing and testing AI algorithms and models
  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams to integrate AI systems into products or services
  • Analyzing data to identify patterns and insights
  • Implementing AI solutions and monitoring their performance
  • Maintaining and improving AI systems over time.”

What are the skills required? Is a tech degree needed?


“Soft skills are most important in the job. Communication, both verbal and written, is critical. If business customers don’t believe the results, they will not use them.

A deep understanding of the underlying mathematics is also essential. The technologies and languages can always be learned, but the intellectual skills are key. In a more machine learning-oriented program, someone who has math-heavy qualifications like a degree in Econometrics, Physics or Engineering and really understands the data content can be very effective. We value common sense and really strong logical thinking over knowing how to run 100 different algorithms.”


“Becoming an AI specialist requires a combination of technical, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Here are some key skills and qualifications that are typically required for this role:

  • Strong background in computer science or related fields: A bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science, mathematics, statistics, or a related field is usually required for an AI specialist position.
  • Proficiency in programming languages: A deep understanding of programming languages like Python, Java, C++, and R is crucial to building and implementing AI systems.
  • Knowledge of machine learning algorithms: AI specialists must be proficient in machine learning algorithms such as linear regression, decision trees, neural networks, and clustering algorithms.
  • Familiarity with data science and data analysis: They need to have a good understanding of statistics and data analysis tools such as Excel, Tableau, and other data visualization tools.
  • Problem-solving and analytical skills: AI specialists need to be able to identify problems, develop hypotheses, and test solutions to optimize performance.
  • Communication skills: They must be able to communicate complex technical information to both technical and non-technical stakeholders in a clear and concise manner.
  • Creativity and innovation: AI specialists must be able to identify new opportunities for innovation and apply creative solutions to solve complex problems.
  • Knowledge of the latest AI technologies and trends: They must stay up-to-date with the latest AI technologies, tools, and trends to remain competitive in the field.

A degree is not always required to become an artificial intelligence specialist, but it can be beneficial for developing the necessary skills and knowledge for the role. Many AI specialist positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics, statistics, or a related field, but some employers may accept equivalent experience or certifications.

How do AI specialists benefit the business they work for?


“Some of the best AI value is delivered in simple ways such as automating routine tasks ― perhaps information extraction from documents ― which can provide cheaper processing with greater accuracy. Also, bringing expert decision-making to non-experts ― such as deciding next steps on an insurance claim ― is another key benefit of using good AI specialists. Image analysis has more recently started delivering value with automated fraud or safety detection in security camera feeds, for example.

Lastly, the AI specialist can help uncover new insights by making analysis of extremely large or extremely variable data sets possible. Although it’s very hard to match human experience and intuition, in circumstances where you’re looking at data in the extreme, AI has a definite role to play in uncovering new insights, relationships and understanding.”


“AI specialists can benefit the businesses they work for in a number of ways. Here are some of the most common benefits:

  • Improved decision-making: By analyzing data and identifying patterns and insights, AI specialists can help businesses make more informed and accurate decisions.
  • Increased efficiency: AI can automate routine tasks and processes, freeing up employees to focus on higher-level tasks that require human intelligence.
  • Enhanced customer experience: AI-powered tools such as chatbots, virtual assistants, and recommendation engines can help businesses provide better customer experiences and personalized recommendations.
  • Cost savings: AI can help businesses reduce costs by automating processes, optimizing supply chain management, and reducing waste.
  • Competitive advantage: By leveraging AI technologies, businesses can gain a competitive advantage by developing new products and services, improving existing ones, and staying ahead of the curve.
  • Predictive maintenance: AI can be used to predict when machines and equipment are likely to fail, allowing businesses to perform maintenance before breakdowns occur, which can reduce downtime and repair costs.

Overall, AI specialists can help businesses unlock new opportunities, increase efficiency, and improve the bottom line by leveraging the power of machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and other AI technologies.”

How can an employer/business get the most out of their AI specialist and AI in general?

To get the most out of their AI specialists and AI jobs in general, employers or businesses must learn the fundamentals of AI and data science so that they, too, can see the opportunities for value realisation and better support their AI specialists. The key to effective support and utilisation of the AI specialist is an effective “data organisation” with a broad AI understanding that goes beyond the introduction of tools and techniques. Artificial Intelligence is not a technology play, it’s a business problem. When I hear clients ask what they can do with deep learning, I think this is a technology-driven solution that will likely have less business impact. The best approach is to first understand the problem, what deliverable will solve it and how the business must change to implement it. Once that is understood, then it’s the right time to consider the data available and proper AI approach.

Projects mostly succeed or fail due to understanding. You can’t spend too much time understanding the business problem and the data. Beyond formatting and quality, you really need to understand how decisions are made from the data and what impact different recommendations will have on those decisions. This is why I prefer AI specialists with an “investigative” background over a technology or “moving data around” background.

Sample Ai Specialist Job Description:

Sample 1 (ChatGPT)

Job Title: AI Specialist

Job Summary: We are seeking an experienced AI Specialist to join our team. The successful candidate will be responsible for developing and implementing machine learning algorithms and models that drive our business forward. They will work closely with our data scientists, engineers, and product managers to build predictive models that improve customer experience, optimize operations, and drive revenue growth.


  • Develop and implement machine learning algorithms and models using Python, Java, C++, or other programming languages.
  • Work closely with data scientists, engineers, and product managers to identify business problems and develop solutions.
  • Collect, analyze, and interpret data using statistical and data analysis tools.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to implement models in production and optimize performance.
  • Continuously monitor and refine models to improve accuracy and performance.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest AI technologies, trends, and tools.


  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, or a related field.
  • 3+ years of experience in developing and implementing machine learning algorithms and models.
  • Strong programming skills in Python, Java, C++, or other programming languages.
  • Experience with machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow, Keras, and PyTorch.
  • Experience with statistical and data analysis tools such as Excel, Tableau, or other data visualization tools.
  • Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills.
  • Strong communication and collaboration skills.

If you are a highly motivated and results-driven AI Specialist with a passion for machine learning and data analysis, we encourage you to apply for this exciting opportunity.

Sample 2 (WEF)

Title: Specialist, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

$80,000 – $85,000 a year – Full time

Job Description:
Please Note: This role requires the ability to work onsite 3 days per week per institution policy.
The annual salary range for this role is $80,000 – $85,000 in San Francisco.
The X company is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, engaging the foremost leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
We help leaders anticipate exponential technologies and drive responsible sectoral and industry transformation. We create and scale initiatives in a global network of government- and not-for-profit hosted centres which give national trailblazers access to a trusted platform of sharing, learning, and problem-solving.

Why we are Recruiting

Our center engages stakeholders in mission-driven, multi-year initiatives at the system level and then enables its growing network of independent centres to build on, benefit from, and actively contribute to those initiatives with usually time-bound pilots, case studies and other action-oriented efforts.
We are providing strategic assistance at the platform and initiative level to independent centres. This includes:

  • Creating opportunities and roadmaps for centres to engage in initiatives
  • Assisting centres with initiative identification, planning and resourcing
  • Providing strategic assistance from initiative incubation to delivery
  • Sharing and scaling outputs and outcomes across the network
  • Feeding learnings and results back into global initiatives

Research global, regional, and local technology trends and policies
As a result of the successful growth of its network, the team is recruiting a Specialist, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to enable our center to build on, benefit from, and actively contribute to initiatives in this domain with time-bound pilots, case studies and other action-oriented efforts, and to feed learnings back into mission-driven, multi-year initiatives at the system level.
This is a new position based out of San Francisco. The role will be of critical importance for driving the mission, vision, and strategic objectives of the center by stepping up the engagement of its global network and growing its global effectiveness and impact.

Reporting Lines & Interactions:
The Strategic Integration Specialist function reports into the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Platform and specifically to the Strategic Integration Lead, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The Specialist will actively collaborate with and across platform and initiative teams, and corresponding teams and fellows in our center. Establishing productive relationships internally and externally will be of utmost importance for succeeding in this role.

Breakdown of main responsibilities:

  • Support the Platform and its Strategic Integration Lead in creating opportunities and roadmaps for centres to engage in Forum initiatives
  • Assist independent centres along the full value chain from initiative identification, planning and resourcing, to incubation, delivery and evaluation; actively feed learnings back into global initiatives
  • Apply stakeholder engagement and user-centric design methodologies and techniques to help centres rapidly move from idea to impact via piloting, evaluating and iterating solutions
  • Keep timely records of engagement and progress in our digital platforms, and ensure a timely communication flow between all stakeholders
  • Support independent centres in sharing and scaling co-branded outputs and outcomes by leveraging institutional publication and communication functions (as per the collaboration agreement)
    Support independent centres in the design and delivery of co-branded and/or co-hosted sessions and workshops to initiate, iterate and accelerate workstreams (per the collaboration agreement)
  • Contribute to team efforts to improve the efficiency and excellence of the network through constant improvements to processes and the development of new tools
  • Support the day-to-day management of centre relationships; provide logistical support and guidance to help centres navigate Forum platforms, initiatives and events

Preferred requirements and experience

  • Masters (or higher) degree in public policy, management, computer science, or similar fields a plus.
  • 2+ years of experience in private or public sector, including working or consulting on relevant topics related to artificial intelligence
  • Passion for technology and innovation, including an understanding of potential impact of technology on society, government interaction with technology, and/or cross-country cooperation
  • Hands-on experience contributing to developing and coordinating initiatives and communities, knowledge management, and helping to turn ideas into tangible action and impact. Interacting with executive leaders a plus.
  • Experience and comfort handling administrative and coordination support
  • Experience working in an international or intercultural setting
  • Experience with project management
  • Excellent communications skills, including creation of visually compelling presentations and materials
  • Excellent verbal and written language skills in English; proficiency in other languages is an asset
  • Proficient with digital platforms, particularly Salesforce and Slack, preferred

Why work with us
We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to improve the state of the world by building awareness and cooperation, shaping mind-sets and agendas and driving collective action. Join us and become a driver for positive change.

Vaccination requirement
We require that employees be fully vaccinated with at least one booster against COVID-19 by their first day of employment. We will evaluate all requests for accommodation/exemption from this policy in keeping with federal, state, and local law.

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Loren Webb

Loren Webb

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