Confused in the choice of university

Hi all,

I am Rishikesh Narayanan, I got an offer letter from Leiden University for masters in data science and Vrije university for masters in artificial intelligence. I am confused about choosing the right university (Leiden university or Vrije University) I would like some guidance

Hi and welcome to the Forum.

You've told us nothing about your aspirations, so can only comment on the online comments for both Universities; both institutions are rated very highly in the world rankings, so either would be suitable.

All these being equal, perhaps you should consider the secondary activities that may be available to you at either site.

My advice would be to reach out to your peers on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook etc) and see if they have any comments (good or bad) on your question.

Hope this helps.

Expat Team
Your question might reduce to which major to pick, rather than which university. I do not know anything about either university but I can give you some deep advIce about the AI field since my expertise is in A.I., at least for the USA. I assume this advice will be applicable to any country.

You need to realize that AI is split into two subfields: applied AI and artificial general intelligence (AGI). Applied AI is the use of current machines, primarily digital computers, to mimic human intelligence, whereas AGI is true AI, as seen only in popular Hollywood movies since it does not exist yet. The only AI courses that are taught in schools are in applied AI because nobody even knows what topics are involved in AGI. Therefore you need to make a decision about your long-term goals... If your main goal is to make money, then machine learning, which is part of applied AI, is the way to go since there are supposedly many jobs in that field, and data science is probably the closest major to that goal unless Vrije considers machine learning to be AI. However, if your main goal is to do research and to be involved in futuristic technology that does not exist yet, then AGI is the way to go, so artificial intelligence is probably the closest major to that goal.

Per Wikipedia, the main topics that are considered AGI are common sense reasoning (CSR) and whole brain simulation. Whole brain simulation is just neural networks, which is reverse engineering of the brain, made more insanely difficult, so I would almost guarantee that whole brain simulation is a dead end. CSR can be approached using any method, such as traditional machine learning or conventional applied AI, so CSR is a more flexible field with much more potential. If you make a breakthrough in CSR, you make a breakthrough in AGI.

To put it bluntly, data science, current machine learning, and current artificial neural networks are ultimately dead ends. So are quantum computers, at least for AI. Data science is more simplistic than machine learning, so if you have a choice between those two, I definitely recommend machine learning. To summarize, if your decision about which university to choose is based on the major instead of quality or location of the school, then I would recommend you make a decision on where your long-term values lie, then pick the major that fits that decision the best, then pick the university based on that: Leiden / data science / money, versus Vrije / artificial intelligence / AI / research and possibly machine learning, too, while aiming closer to AGI.

If your question is not about majors, then this post will likely be useless to you, and I apologize.