I have an undergraduate degree (B.E.) in Biomedical Engineering. Right now, I am working on a M.S. in Applied Mathematics and Statistics and will be done pretty soon. I have very minimal research experience, and no papers published. I will be working in industry for the next year (since I didn't apply for any PhD programs this application season). However, I would like to get into a PhD program as soon as I can.
My interests are in the field of AI and Machine Learning. From the research I have done, most AI/ML research is done by Computer Science departments; so that is where I must head. What are my chances of getting into a good AI/ML program coming from a different background and no relevant research experience (although I have no direct research experience, I follow the literature and learn as much as I can on AI/ML in my free time)? What can I do to best increase my shots of getting into a top CS department known for AI (Stanford, Cornell, etc)?
Instead of working for a year, maybe I should seek a research assistantship at an AI lab (less pay, but if it can get me into a top program then so be it)?
Any advice is appreciated!