Today, we are in the early stages of the next global revolution. An artificial intelligence (AI) revolution.
On a global scale, the economic impact of AI and machine learning (ML) is already substantial. Advances in modern AI technologies are forever pushing the boundaries of what machines are capable of. Paving the way for a major increase in labour productivity.
UK universities and startups are already leading the world in building the tools for the new economy. Innovative AI is enabling a more efficient workforce and improved time management processes.
Despite huge advances, however, there is still one significant factor impacting innovation and adoption. One acting as a critical enabler, and a potential blockage; talent.
This so-called ‘Talent Challenge’ has even been identified as a key priority within the UK Government’s first ‘National AI Strategy’;
“We recognise that global AI talent is scarce, and the topic of fierce competition internationally… Support for diverse and inclusive researchers and innovators across sectors, and new environments for collaboratively developing AI, will be key to ensuring the UK’s success in developing AI and investing in the long-term health of our AI ecosystem.”
Lack of talent with advanced technological skills can cause significant bottlenecks. Possibly holding organisations back from successfully implementing AI-based solutions. In spite of the talent challenge having a major influence over the AI sector today, the shortage pre-dates AI.
Is it time for a new approach to address this challenge?
The ‘Talent Challenge’
Already one of Europe’s AI leaders, the UK is fast becoming one of the key players in AI technologies on the world stage. Despite this, ongoing talent shortages have the potential to derail the government’s ‘National AI Strategy’ plans. According to a recent survey from Gartner, organisations believe that the talent shortage is the most significant adoption barrier in 64 per cent of emerging technologies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only added to this industry-wide issue. In 2020, even as many companies increased redundancies and furlough schemes, the demand for tech talent remained strong. Now, as a direct result of the pandemic, many organisations are taking on new digital transformation programs – further causing the demand for tech talent to outstrip available supply.
Adding to this, Gartner state that almost 50 per cent of the current IT workforce lack the skills or abilities needed to support new digital business initiatives. Key skills such as AI and machine learning. Perhaps even more troublesome though, experts predict the talent gap to continue to widen globally for the foreseeable future.
Approaches to Date – Employment & Education
The tech talent shortage is not a new phenomenon. Over 600 different outreach programmes seek to address this in the UK alone. Most recently, Engineering UK has been a driving force in bringing all parties together – charities, schools, and governments, to collaboratively deliver a solution.
The rapid shift to digital during the COVID-19 pandemic expanded the reach of these programmes to more geographically challenging remote areas too. Tech became a powerful enabler. The ‘Tech Talent Charter’ also took the challenge to the existing workforce. Joining the dots to unleash the potential of a diverse workforce, currently underrepresented in tech.
When looking at the next phase of education though, technology is moving a lot faster than academia. Young students, once finished their studies, are not up to date with the technology used in the industry. That makes the number of talents that can be “used” very low.
As the gap widens, more clearly needs to be done. Employment and education policy will need adjusting to AI. Could it be that tech itself can offer part of the solution?
The Role of Artificial Intelligence
AI is widely expected to change the nature of work as it diffuses across sectors. It will complement humans in some tasks, replace them in others, and also generate new types of work. At the same time, organisations and educational institutions must also leverage AI technologies to enable novel ways of teaching, learning, and skills development.
In an interesting article, Deloitte recommended that organisations should use AI technologies to maximise what they have to secure their future; “Work to reduce the burden on your AI team where you can. Build skills around sourcing the best AI technologies and suppliers. Leverage cloud-based platforms with pre-built solutions and accelerators.”
At Inspection², thanks to our deep expertise in AI, we find ourselves well-positioned to help companies to leverage AI technologies. Automating and improving current processes and workflow. Through the use of our Image AI Builder application, organisations have the ability to build AI models easily and quickly. And most importantly, with no technical AI knowledge required.
What is the main challenge to the future of AI adoption?
Key questions remain; Is there truly a shortage of talent? Or are we looking for the right attributes in the wrong place?
Could tech be part of the solution?
At Inspection², we think so, and it is a belief that underpins our mission to make no code Image AI models available for everyone in every sector globally.