Self-driving cars are just one example of artificial intelligence.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the term “artificial intelligence?” If you’re a sci-fi junkie like me, you might immediately jump to thoughts of Cyberdyne Technologies or Marvin, the paranoid Android. But in reality, artificial intelligence already plays an active role in our everyday lives.

You may have already recognized it in phone assistants like Siri or Google Now. Or you may have identified AI when playing Chess against a virtual opponent, or when playing more sophisticated motion-tracking games with the Kinect™. But did you know that artificial intelligence is also present in Google Translate and spam blockers?

Studying artificial intelligence opens a world of opportunities. At a basic level, you’ll better understand the systems and tools that you interact with on a daily basis. And if you stick with the subject and study more, you can help create cutting edge AI applications, like the Google Self Driving Car, or IBM’s Watson.

In the field of artificial intelligence, the possibilities are truly endless. It seems the news is frequently filled with stories like Google’s plan to build quantum processors or crowd-funding efforts for robotic assistants like Jibo.

Studying AI now can prepare you for a job as a software engineer researching neural networks, human-machine interfaces, and quantum artificial intelligence. Or you could work as a software engineer in industry working for companies like Amazon to shopping list recommendation engines or Facebook analyzing and processing big data. You could also work as a hardware engineer developing electronic parking assistants or home assistant robots.

And the truly exciting thing is that the jobs for these types of projects didn’t exist 10 years ago! AI is a field that keeps growing and changing, and the jobs you’re studying for now may evolve into something beyond your imagination by the time to begin work in the field.

So don’t wait! You can get started with Intro to Artificial Intelligence, an introductory course taught by artificial intelligence legends Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig.