Artificial Intelligence (AI) is slowly taking over our day-to-day lives – especially when it comes to the workplace and using tech to enhance and fast-track tasks writes Alesandra Berger.
There are many sectors in which AI can help improve services – specifically national health services, banking and legal services.
Not only do some of the biggest names in technology debate over the future of AI, and how it continues to make life easier and better for many, but we are now seeing some of the biggest tech companies recruiting heavily in AI.
But, who is recruiting for AI roles the most whilst making big steps in looking toward the future?
With AI-related jobs more than doubling over the past three years and job postings related to AI increasing by 119%, RS Components has analysed job posts from some of the world’s biggest tech companies to discover who has the highest percentage of AI-related job openings.
A former Google Exec has predicted that AI will replace 40 per cent of jobs in the next 15 years. Kai-Fu Lee stated that AI will allow entire new industries to be built from the ground up, with automation in mind. AI will be cheaper than human employees, however, it will also create new roles, as well as replace current ones.
As AI progresses beyond development stages and into regular usage, more and more companies are looking to recruit machine learning talent, develop the AI skills of their existing workforce, and begin to use the technology throughout various sectors of their business.
However in a Ernst & Young poll last year, 56% of senior AI professionals argued that lack of talent and qualified workers is the greatest single barrier to the implementation of AI across business operations.
Similarly, the 2018 survey by O’Reilly named ‘How Companies Are Putting AI to Work Through Deep Learning’ also revealed that the AI skills gap is the largest barrier to AI adoption, but that company culture, company resources and data challenges also contribute to this.
Our academic and training programmes are also struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation and development of AI, further widening the existing gap. But whilst recent research found that only 1 in 4 workers strongly agree that their company equips employees with the skills needed to take advantage of AI, it is suggested that advanced technical education might not be necessary to bridge this gap.
So how can you get ahead and help close the AI skills gap many workplaces are currently experiencing? And how might future career training initiatives be affected by this skill gap?
AI is expected to create 2.3 million jobs by 2020, with job titles such as machine learning engineer, computer vision engineer and data scientist being amongst the most in-demand AI jobs. According to research by Indeed, the most in-demand AI skills include machine learning, Python, R programming, data science, Java programming, and data mining.
These skills, which are currently in significant shortage, beg the question – will the curricula need to change to prepare children for the future workforce?
A recent report by Raconteur describes how Miles Berry, a key architect of the national curriculum for computing, introduced to replace ICT four years ago, is disheartened at how few schools have exploited the new programme fully.
“AI is difficult to teach and schools either lack relevant resources or don’t know how to apply them, but in order to plug the technology skills gap, we must give our youngsters time to experiment with creating rudimentary chatbots for example,” Miles says.
Whilst growing numbers of primary and secondary schools are now teaching students how to code, this only covers one small element of AI, and a skill which is predicted to be “old hat” by the time they’re old enough to enter the workforce.
One way to increase the AI skills gap would be to continue to increase resources for digital, math and technical education in schools – as a sole focus on driving more students in to computer science will not solve the issue.
Devising technology-specific education or training schemes will also help develop the skills of the future workforce. For example, last year the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced plans to have an AI-focused college built by 2022.
Closer to home, tech giants such as Amazon have an AI-focused lab near the University of Cambridge and there are plans to build a technology University in Milton Keynes which will “focus on skills for the future” by 2023.
The University will be designed as an education institution for the 21st century, delivering a STEM- focused curriculum in key areas including digital, cybe, autonomy, robotics and AI.
Until there are new graduates with the appropriate level of AI skills to step into these roles, many companies should currently be focusing on upskilling and retraining present staff. The future of work will require employees to be ever-more agile and change their skills to keep up with technology, which is constantly developing.
Alexandra Berger, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications EMEA region, RS Components
About Alexandra: With over 18 years’ experience across an international business-to-business environment, working for companies including Unilever, SC Johnson, SealedAir and Rexel, Alexandra’s experience includes global, regional and country leadership roles in Marketing and Business Management. Alexandra’s broad experience has seen her lead digital transformation programmes, brand development initiatives and customer experience programmes. Most recently Alexandra joined RS Components as Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications for the company’s EMEA region, where she is leading the transformation of the marketing function. RS Components is the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc, the global distributor for engineers. Supporting & inspiring generations of engineers since 1937.