AI Frontiers Conference 2018

AI Frontiers Conference
Day 1 of the AI Frontiers Conference

The annual AI Frontiers Conference is a three-day conference designed to deliver the latest breakthroughs, trends and prediction in AI to practitioners, academics, businesses and startups. The conference recently took place at the San Jose Convention Center from Nov. 9 to 11, 2018, bringing together experts from AI giants such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and AI rising stars like OpenAI, Uber, and Udacity. We had an opportunity to present one of the AI workshops on natural language processing, as well as attend the conference, and wanted to share our top three takeaways from the conference.

1.) AI is prevalent across industries

AI no longer refers to theoretical research at academic institutions or R&D labs; instead, it is a foundational technology that is disrupting society and driving innovations in key industries. From the way we get to work, to how doctors identify and treat diseases, AI is poised to forge a future of endless new possibilities. Some key industries taking advantage of AI include healthcare and finance. For example, in healthcare AI is used to predict diseases, identify high-risk patient groups, automate diagnostic tests and to increase speed and accuracy of treatment. It can also be used to improve drug formulations, predictive care, and DNA analysis that can positively impact quality of healthcare and affect human lives. Another key industry is Finance. Banks are already using AI to streamline their formerly manual processes for tracking data, saving time and maximizing cost benefits. The new horizon? Leveraging AI beyond internal processes to inform consumer interaction. As the finance world grows and develops with this technology, the next step is machine learning that changes and adapts to improve fraud detection and provides smarter customer service by conversing with users every day. By using AI to inform both consumer-facing and internal processes, the potential return on investment can be huge.

2.) AI redefines what it means to be human

Dr. Kai-Fu Lee has been at the center of the AI revolution for more than 30 years. For his Ph.D. thesis at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Lee developed the world’s first speaker-independent, continuous speech recognition system. Today, he is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sinovation Ventures, as well as President of its Artificial Intelligence Institute. He spoke at the conference and his message was that AI is giving our society a wake-up call. Currently, so much of our time is spent on busywork and repetitive work, which will largely be automated in the age of AI. Yet, key attributes such as creativity and empathy cannot be substituted by machines or data. Organizations in the world of AI will require people to excel at connecting with others and gaining people’s trust. Many transactions are already occurring online, but high-end corporate sales will require the ability to build long-term customer relationships. “My advice to employees would be to become lifelong learners, always looking for the next skill and never believing that the next 10 years will be like the previous decade,” he stressed. There’s a widening skills gap between traditional and machine-augmented work, but it also creates a real need for new training, new types of experts, and, ultimately, a shift from the workforce we know to a workforce open to new possibilities, as far as new skills, productivity, and contributions by humans made hand-in-hand with machines.

3.) AI goes mainstream faster than imagined

Some of the biggest brands on the planet are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence, betting on everything from face-scanning smartphones and consumer gadgets to computerized health care and self-driving cars. It’s also worth noting that AI has quickly gone mainstream in popular consumer devices such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Home Assistant. And this trend is happening faster than many could have imagined just a few years ago. As companies embrace the transformative potential of AI, they have been snapping up all the available talent from the relatively small pool of scientists and technicians trained in artificial intelligence, and its sub-disciplines, machine learning and deep learning. As the scarcity of people with the requisite knowledge and abilities has deepened, those companies have been cultivating efforts to up-skill AI skills across their workforce. Making a success of AI in an organization ultimately rests upon diversity: diversity of thinking, of personnel, and of skillsets. On-boarding team members from across the organization, maintaining a critical and inclusive hiring policy, and implementing a cohesive workforce transformation initiative to up-skill and re-skill personnel are vital to bridge the skills gap.

The conference provided a front-row seat of the frontiers of AI and machine learning and highlighted some extraordinary breakthroughs in various industries. As AI technologies become a reality, companies and their workforce must keep up –

And they must do so quickly.

Find out how Udacity Enterprise is helping companies transform their workforce to remain competitive. 

Preparing for AI jobs: Why Nanodegrees are the future of education

Originally published by IBM on August 23, 2018 at https://www.ibm.com/blogs/watson/2018/08/preparing-for-ai-jobs-why-nanodegrees-are-the-future-of-education/

In 2017, IBM predicted that by 2020, demand for these skills would grow by 28% (364,000 jobs) to over 2.7 million job listings. We’ve revised that prediction, as we see growth in this space closer to 45%. A Harvard Business Review article proclaimed there is a growing war being waged for people with skills for the “sexiest job” of the 21st century, the data scientist.

More businesses than ever before are looking to fill a suite of new roles in an AI-driven world:

  • Data Scientists
  • Chatbot developers
  • Computer vision engineers
  • Machine learning engineer
  • AI researchers
  • AI architects

There are other pressing questions, too. How can existing IT professionals build specific skills for AI platforms, while they stay at their existing jobs? How can AI neophytes build the necessary skills and understanding to enter this lucrative profession, without putting their career on hold while they retrain? Nanodegrees seem to be the perfect solution.

To see the five reasons why an increasing number of people are opting for these specialized online programs to help them transition to AI careers, please go to the original article found here.

To learn more about Udacity’s Enterprise solutions, click here.

Kai-Fu Lee joins Sebastian Thrun for Udacity Talks

The author of “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order” talks about AI, innovation, and his belief in the human soul.

Udacity Talks with Kai-Fu Lee and Sebastian Thrun was quite an international affair! People joined from all over the world, including Canada, Greece, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Switzerland, and more. Here in the US, we had attendees from Arizona, California, Michigan, New Orleans, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington, D.C., just to name a few!

As is to be expected when Sebastian hosts, conversation topics were wide-ranging, running the gamut from China’s rapid ascendance to the status of AI superpower and the end of banking as we know it, to the inevitability of flying cars and the chasm between “narrow AI” and “general AI.”

Highlights included Kai-Fu Lee’s eloquence on the subject of the human soul, and his teasing admonishment to “the CEO of Kitty Hawk” for still using text messaging!

For those viewers not familiar with the latest developments in China, it was remarkable to hear of the innovations already happening, especially when it comes to infrastructure spending. Lee described one such effort, in which a new city “the size of Chicago” is being built; a city that will essentially have two “layers” — a traffic-free one featuring parks, pedestrian walkways, and pet areas, and a lower level where autonomous vehicles drive.

Details like these make the entrepreneurial spirit in China seem almost magical, but as Lee pointed out, there is a downside. He described the Chinese entrepreneurial space as being like a “gladiator ring” in which only one competitor survives!

The conversation took an unexpected turn to the spiritual when Sebastian asked about the “AI endgame” and whether or not Kai-Fu Lee believed in “general AI,” which is considered the equivalent of human intelligence, and is often understood to be the point at which machines have a “consciousness.”

Sebastian Thrun: Do you believe in general AI?

Kai-Fu Lee: I do not. I choose to believe that we have a soul, and that it cannot be replicated.

Sebastian reintroduced variations of this question throughout the remainder of the talk, with Lee at one point stating that, “I’m not saying it’s impossible to build a machine with a soul, I’m saying we shouldn’t.”

It was powerful stuff, but there was levity as well. When asked to give advice to American companies interested in going to China, Lee had this to say:

“My advice to most American companies that want to go to China is, don’t.”

Lee also offered advice to younger generations coming into the workforce, who will increasingly be contending with an AI-powered world:

“Do what you’re good at, and what you love. And be aware of what AI is going to replace. Think of AI as either a job destroyer, or a job enhancer, and go into those areas where AI will enhance.”

Kai-Fu Lee is the former head of Google in China, and the co-founder of Sinovation Ventures. He is also the author of “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order,” which Sebastian has described as:

“A unique book by one of the leading pioneers of the field of AI. Kai-Fu Lee is a top notch researcher, business executive and investor. He tells the tale of AI — in China and the US — better than anyone else. A great read!”

You can watch the full episode of this Udacity Talk here.

Answering “Yes” to Hard Questions About the SKills Gap, and The Future of Work

A recent article from the University of California’s Chief Innovation Officer, about the impact of disruptive technologies on jobs and skills, poses critical questions about how we connect learning to jobs—today, and in the future.

Future of Work

Everyone from politicians to policy makers, utopianists to university professors, innovators to investors, is talking about the future of work, the fourth industrial revolution, and the automation age. It’s hard to avoid these topics, and if you’re between the ages of, say, 16 and 80, you probably shouldn’t avoid them.

Our work lives are changing, and depending on how we manage the transition, this could either be a new golden age, or a serious shock to the system.

At Udacity, we’re engaged in helping lifelong learners across the globe empower themselves through learning, in order to build rewarding lives and careers. As such, we’re acutely aware of the looming changes—the theories around how it’s going to happen, and what it’s all going to mean.

We engage every day with innovators, educators, students, employees and thought leaders, to better understand what education needs to do, be, and represent as we move forward. We work with recruiters, hiring managers, entrepreneurs, and executives, to better forecast what skills will be needed, where the demand will be, and what career advancement will look like in the days, years, and decades to come. We collaborate with individuals, startups, and global corporations, to better understand how and where the work of the future will happen. In short, we spend a vast amount of time learning from anyone and everyone about what the future holds, and how we can best prepare our students to succeed.

We listen, we talk, we watch, we ask, and we read.

One article that recently impressed us for its ambitious scope, rich degree of insight, and clear-eyed understanding of where the world is heading, is a post by Christine Gulbranson, the Chief Innovation Officer for the University of California System. The article is entitled The Future of Work: The Impact of Disruptive Technologies on Jobs and Skills. Here is a sample of the wisdom Gulbranson shares in this provocative and timely piece:

“It’s not difficult to make some basic calculations about what skill sets will be needed in the future: automate predictable manual labor jobs and the skills demanded for such jobs decreases. More automated factories will increase the demand for hard skills in mechanical engineering, software architecture, coding, algorithms, data structures, data analysis/data science, and machine architecture/design. Increasing gene editing and robotic surgery will increase the demand for software engineers and mechanical engineers who also have medical skills. Move to IoT cities and policy makers and lawyers will need to understand coding, software architecture, economics, and more, on top of what they’re expected to know today.

Clearly with a rise of connected devices and infrastructure, machines, AI, spatial computing, blockchain, and autonomous vehicles, there comes an increase in demand for STEAM skills. However, sitting on top of hard skills is a deep and strong layer for cognitive, analytical, and soft skills. Employers won’t be looking for a degree that signifies what a candidate knows: they will be looking for someone who can learn, combine and analyze, problem-solve, create, and adjust.”

It’s that last sentence that especially resonated with us, because this echoes exactly what we hear directly from employers every single day. The pace of modern business and the rapid advance of technology have significantly altered the hiring landscape in such a way that characteristics such as agility, growth mindset, adaptability, creativity, and grit have emerged as the most important factors in predicting a successful hire.

That’s not to say that acquired skills don’t matter—they do!—but the ability to learn new skills and apply them has become just as important as the skills you already possess.

This is also not to say that educational pedigree doesn’t have a place any longer—it does—but what constitutes credible pedigree is changing rapidly. As we’ve learned in the years since first launching our Nanodegree programs, a Nanodegree credential fulfills a dual role. In addition to affirming your skills acquisition, earning a Nanodegree credential stands as evidence that you are a self-motivated problem-solver who possesses grit and determination.

Gulbranson’s article concludes on a sobering note of caution:

“Finally, as we already know today, if education can’t keep up with changing industry, then the skills gap will hinder technological advancement and adoption.”

She goes on to ask some powerful questions, such as:

  • Are students learning how to learn, handle high complexity, and be flexible?
  • Are they learning how to make the invisible visible, and how to make good decisions using data and analysis?
  • Are there solutions that don’t cost an arm and a leg and last four years when the industry needs a software engineer who is also a psychologist to create a product that detects the mood of drivers and auto-shuts off the car appropriately?

We’re proud to be part of a new generation of learning providers offering opportunities that represent a “yes” answer to all the above, and we’re grateful to innovators like Christine Gulbranson who are out there asking the hard questions, and providing the right answers.

Through your commitment to lifelong learning at your organization, you are helping build rewarding careers for employees, while creating an environment for innovation.

~

Visit udacity.com/enterprise to discover how we can help your organization successfully navigate workforce transformation!

Introducing Udacity’s New Cybersecurity Nanodegree Program

Learn modern cloud-native cybersecurity skills with a new program built in collaboration with Chronicle.

Today marks a significant milestone for a journey that began on April 20, 2018. On that day, Sebastian Thrun spoke at the annual RSA Conference, and announced that Udacity would be building and launching a new Nanodegree program focused on cybersecurity. A key component of that announcement was our call for collaborators:

“To the leaders in this field, we are extending the opportunity to join us. Your organization, together with Udacity, can help shape the future of cybersecurity training, and nurture the world’s most advanced pipeline of highly-qualified cybersecurity talent.”

Today, we are excited to unveil our new Cybersecurity Nanodegree program, built in collaboration with Chronicle, and featuring contributions from leading security experts at Facebook, Microsoft, Visa, and VMware.

Cybersecurity training that can stay ahead of the threats

The launch of this program represents a critical step forward in the battle against global cybercrime. Through our cross-industry collaboration with Chronicle, we are creating something desperately needed in our world today—cybersecurity training that can stay ahead of the threats. In this new program, Chronicle’s bleeding-edge expertise at applying planet-scale computing and analytics to security operations, and Udacity’s agile and dynamic learning platform, combine to offer a compact and groundbreaking training opportunity found nowhere else in the world.

The time is right for this program, and there has never been a greater need for new talent to enter this field.

“In this day and age, when our reliance on networked systems is higher than ever and the gap between talent and demand is growing faster and faster, cross-industry collaboration is critical to the future of our society. The time to address this problem is now, and this partnership with Udacity will take us one step closer to achieving our common goal.” —Mike Wiacek, Co-Founder, CSO, Chronicle

The need for qualified cybersecurity talent

As the number and complexity of cyber attacks increases around the world, demand for qualified security professionals continues to rise dramatically. The recently-released Global Information Security Workforce Study predicts that there will be 1.8 million open cybersecurity jobs by 2022, and the U.S. Department of Labor anticipates security-related job growth rates of 28% over the next decade. As striking as these numbers are, they are conservative by many estimates. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021, and ISACA forecasts a global shortage of two million cybersecurity professionals by as early as next year.

No matter which forecasts come to fruition, the challenges are inescapable, and the demand is very real—the world needs trained cybersecurity professionals, and for those who possess the right skills, the opportunities are nearly limitless.

“We need to build more cybersecurity expertise everywhere to meet the growing demand for security skills. I’m glad to see Udacity’s work on their Cybersecurity Nanodegree program, particularly the input from the technology industry. I wish I had this type of program available when I was starting my career in security.” —Aanchal Gupta, Director of Security, Facebook

The opportunity to help the world address its security challenges, while simultaneously supporting a new generation of security talent to acquire the valuable and in-demand skills necessary to enter the field, is why we created this program in the first place, and it’s why we’re here today, getting ready to open our classroom to the security professionals of the future.

Our expert collaborators and contributors

To build the best curriculum possible, and to create the most compelling and valuable real-world projects, we’ve assembled an outstanding team of cybersecurity experts to provide input for our program. Their invaluable contributions serve to ensure that our students learn broadly-applicable skills valued across a wide range of fields and industries. These experts include:

  • Mike Wiacek, Co-Founder and Chief Security Officer of Chronicle, and the entire Chronicle team
  • Aanchal Gupta, Director of Security at Facebook
  • Ashish Jaiman, Director of Cybersecurity at Microsoft
  • Swapnil Deshmukh, Senior Director of Cybersecurity at Visa
  • Wael Ghandour, Lead Security Engineer at VMWare
  • Ariel Kirson, Security Development Lifecycle Executive

Learn how your employees can advance their cybersecurity knowledge

The combination of Chronicle’s focus on fighting cybercrime on a global scale, Udacity’s dedication to offering groundbreaking learning opportunities in transformational fields like artificial intelligence, and the deep industry expertise of all our Cybersecurity Nanodegree program contributors, makes this an unrivaled training opportunity that will enable graduates to launch and advance successful careers as security professionals, and become the kind of security-minded engineers that are so in demand across all industries, and which the world so desperately needs.

To learn how Udacity for Enterprise can help your company with its cybersecurity issues, please go to udacity.com/enterprise.

Future Focused: Udacity and AT&T Join Forces to Train Workers for the Jobs of Tomorrow

AT&T is in the midst of one of the most significant transformations in its more than 140-year-old history, and their work with Udacity enables both the upskilling of its existing workforce, and the development of vital new talent pipelines.

 

Across every sector of the global economy, we are seeing profound signs of transformation as the pace of technological innovation continues to accelerate. From tiny startups to massive corporations, organizations are rethinking the future of work, and what it will require in the way of new approaches to learning, training and hiring.

The Future of Work

As a provider of learning experiences designed explicitly to support career advancement in the digital economy, Udacity sits at the critical junction where employer needs meet employee aspirations. We connect learning to jobs in new and vital ways. Our ongoing collaboration with AT&T offers a powerful example of what is possible when industry and education come together to support digital transformation.

New Skills for a New Century

AT&T is in the midst of one of the most significant transformations in its more than 140-year old history. Theirs is an industry with constantly changing expectations, and customers that demand progress and innovation. The key to success in this environment is employee commitment to continuous learning, powering the company to succeed.

To keep pace, we worked to create a culture of continuous learning. We expect that in the future, the job market will increasingly place a premium on ongoing worker knowledge and training. Accordingly, the demand for us all to be lifelong learners will only intensify. On-demand, mobile, swift, specific skills-based learning is the future.” —John G. Palmer, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, AT&T

AT&T recognized they needed a workforce with more than just relevant hard skills—they needed continuous learners that were focused, curious, and driven to master the very latest tools and technologies. They also realized their transformation efforts would require a two-pronged approach: they would need to upskill their existing workforce, while simultaneously developing new talent pipelines that would deliver exceptional candidates. To help accomplish this, AT&T joined with Udacity in 2014 to co-create our first Nanodegree programs, which was ultimately integral to our by-industry, for-industry approach to education and training.

Today, AT&T spends upwards of $200 million a year on their flagship internal training curriculum, known as T University. This effort enables their existing employees to take hands-on courses in subjects like data science and machine learning. The company also provides more than $24 million in tuition aid annually to enable their employees to engage in learning outside the company. More than 2,000 AT&T employees have completed Nanodegree programs.

Internship opportunities and new talent pipelines

Parallel to these internal upskilling and reskilling initiatives, a number of Udacity graduates from outside the company have been recruited and hired through AT&T’s Technology Development Program (TDP), which was developed to bring software development interns into the organization, and provide them the opportunity to learn, work, and earn full-time roles.

“We’ve put Udacity graduates in many different roles such as full-stack development, front-end, back-end, & iOS development; they’ve succeeded in all of these places … Whether those Nanodegree graduates have formal STEM education or not, Udacity has prepared them for their internship, and our colleagues in other parts of the business have been pleased with the results.” —Teresa Ostapower, Senior Vice President, Technology Transformation, AT&T

Swati Lingaraj Kamtar is an Associate Applications Developer at AT&T. She was hired through the TDP internship program, after having completed Udacity’s Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree program. She’s a perfect example of how genuinely committed to their employees—and to continuous learning—AT&T really is; she’s already enrolled in a new Nanodegree program, with the full support and encouragement of her supervisor at AT&T.

“Our Udacity hires come from varying backgrounds and thus bring different perspectives that we appreciate. At AT&T, we value teamwork and the idea that a small group of talented people is more innovative than a single person. Adding those different life experiences and skills into our teams is valuable as we drive forward as a company.” —Teresa Ostapower

Robert Anderson has been an AT&T employee for two years now. He too came to the company via Udacity and the TDP internship program. It nearly didn’t happen for Robert. The first time he became aware of the opportunity, he didn’t apply for the internship. He didn’t believe he was qualified. He’d come to programming late in life, and only after spending years in other fields. He was barely three months into a Udacity Nanodegree program, and in his own words, he was actually “terrified.” But shortly after he graduated, he had another opportunity to apply for an internship, and this time, he took it. He not only landed an internship, he then earned a full-time role. Like Swati, he also returned to Udacity for more learning.

To hear Robert describe getting offered the full-time role, and to experience his passion for learning is to witness firsthand the true depth of AT&T’s commitment, and the true value of a Udacity education:

“I wanted to stay with AT&T, and for them to give me the opportunity; it was an amazing feeling. It was kind of like fireworks going off; like, I did it, I’m actually legitimate in the field, I actually have the skill set. It was a great moment. The more you learn, the more you get out of life. You’re increasing your awareness and your understanding of what’s going on, you’re leveling up. I can’t think of a better endeavor than to invest in yourself and to be the best you can be.”

A culture of continuous learning

Udacity was founded to offer innovative new learning experiences to individuals seeking to master the most important, the most-cutting edge, and the most valuable 21st century skills. As our work with AT&T makes clear, these learners—curious, independent and tenacious,—are earning their places in tomorrow’s workforce, today.

“AT&T has a long-standing history of innovation, and of driving technological advancements that literally change people’s lives. To do that, we have to have employees who are innovative, who are curious, and who are constantly pushing the bounds of what’s next.” —Jenifer Robertson, President – Field Operations, AT&T

The future of work is about creating a culture of continuous learning. AT&T knows this firsthand, as the success of their transformation efforts demonstrates. We are honored to be a part of these efforts, and thrilled to see our graduates joining an organization like AT&T, and making important contributions to their ongoing success.

 

To learn how Udacity for Enterprise is enabling AT&T’s digital transformation, join us for an upcoming Intro to Udacity webinar (register here) or visit us at www.udacity.com/enterprise.

Mazda Partners with Udacity to Train its Future Workforce

How Mazda is Defining the Self-Driving and Connected Car

The auto industry is going through major changes, including stricter environmental and safety regulations, new competitors from other industries, and diversification of the mobility business.

Self-driving cars are coming; it’s no longer a question if autonomous vehicles will hit the market but when they’ll become available. Yet, for Mazda, its taking autonomy and using it “to excite the drive in other ways,” rather than just building another personal shuttle bus.

Mazda is one of a few automakers without any grandiose plans for autonomous cars quite yet, but the company recently commissioned a study to better understand how drivers feel about them. It found more than two-thirds have no interest in letting an autonomous car drive them around. Mazda’s conclusion from the research is that autonomous tech should serve as more of a “The Mazda Co-Pilot Concept” and keep the human in command at all times.

For Mazda, like other automotive manufacturers, the future is being defined by the connected car. “Cars will soon start streaming data out to the cloud: data that we’ll be able to access and take action on, data that tells us in specific terms what’s going on with an individual vehicle and enable us to have personalized conversation with the vehicle owner,” says Shuji Watanabe. “We’ll have data on everything from fault codes to oil health. If we can tap into that data, it could be the start of a conversation with the customer that gives them a better overall experience of owning a Mazda.”

The company has placed a heavy emphasis on training and development of their global workforce. They are harnessing the power of training not only by increasing access to job retraining for their employees but empowering their lower-skilled workers to continuously “upskill” on the job. “Prior technology transformations in the workforce have taken place across generations. We are currently experiencing intra-generational job disruption, where the job you trained for at age 20 may not exist at age 40. So now we need to retrain workers mid-career.”

In partnership with Udacity, Mazda initiated its technical research and product development teams to participate in the Self-driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program in 2018. The Self-Driving Car Engineer (SDC) Nanodegree program is an advanced program in which employees develop an algorithm and write programs in Python and C++, and learn new frameworks like ROS and TensorFlow. Employees entering SDC should be able to write programs from scratch, and should be comfortable with both calculus and linear algebra. SDC does not require solving differential equations by hand, but does require that employees be comfortable interpreting mathematical notation and translating it into code.

Mazda has implemented a human resource development program under which all new employees of production-related divisions are trained for about three years in product development-related divisions. The purpose of this program is to train employees so they become engineers with knowledge and experience ranging from product development to production, propelling their capabilities to develop next-generation products.

“Our goal at Mazda is to ensure our employees are successful and have the right skills to be successful in their work. Our Personnel Development Partnership with Udacity is unique because it includes our commitment to provide skills training for our employees coupled with our own educational programs and developmental coaching.”

To find out more about how Udacity for Enterprise is helping Mazda and other F500 companies, go to www.udacity.com/enterprise.

 

Workforce Transformation: What It Means to Your Organization & Employees

Bridge the #AI skills gap

As companies continue to try to innovate, digitize and transform their operations, the demand for technology talent has never been higher. Training talent for the future and building a stronger workforce, in many cases, requires traditional businesses to think and act more like a nimble startup. Companies today need to reskill the workforce, inject new talent, and enable them a new way of working. Without skilled staff, there can be no digital transformation.

The reality is business has transformed and evident all around us including small changes in everything from how food is made and delivered, to how financial transactions are conducted, to how products are made, operated, and sold result in fundamental changes to how we live and work. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are poised for a monumental impact.

The New York Times estimates that there are only 10,000 people in the world right now with “the education, experience and talent needed” to develop the AI technologies that businesses are betting on to create a host of new economic opportunities. Speculative figures indicate that there are around 300,000 AI practitioners globally, but millions more roles available for people with these qualifications.

The critical issue for companies lies in the fact that AI expertise comes at a price—meaning that only those organizations with the necessary resources and clout are able to attract machine learning talent. This is reflected in booming annual salaries and startling industry recruitment efforts. There is still a pronounced shortage of AI talent. In fact, it is getting worse as more and more enterprises form their own AI groups and make AI part of their corporate strategy,” argues Gary Kazantsev, Bloomberg’s Head of Machine Learning. It’s clear that recruiting one or two AI experts—a challenge in itself—won’t be enough to make the technology an actionable success in 2018.

While skills and training initiatives play catch-up, ballooning salaries, scarce talent, and an aggressively competitive hiring landscape means that the race is already on between those who stand to gain the most from AI through the ability to adopt early on, and those who will be trailing behind in their dust. This is what the AI skills gap looks like—and right now, it’s a gap that is only widening. The growing disparity between the hiring power of companies and the present scarcity of AI talent has big implications, not only for determining the winners and losers of the AI revolution, but for the future of the workforce itself. This is no longer a ‘simple’ question of technology, but of skills, personnel, and strategy. As AI technologies become a reality, companies and their workforce must keep up—and they must do so quickly.

Read our whitepaper and find out how your company can bridge the AI talent gap. Download here.

Audi Trains Its Employees For The Future With Udacity

Audi recently published a blog post discussing its online learning initiative and partnership with Udacity

Artificial intelligence (AI) promises to revolutionize the automotive industry and, more importantly, the automobile. It’s no surprise that Audi has invested in its employee “data camp” training focused on big data and artificial intelligence. Intelligent robots, digital mobility services, and autonomous cars will all rely on these skills, so Audi is staying one step ahead. The company has partnered with Udacity to help accelerate its transformation into a digital car company.

You can find the complete post here in German.

Shaping the Future of Your Workforce

The Future of Work

Future of Work

Today’s businesses are undergoing a digital transformation. The Internet of Things (IoT) is making smart homes, smart factories, and smart cities possible. Autonomous vehicles are changing the transportation industry. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are enabling predictive approaches to decision making and driving business insights.

This digital transformation that is sweeping industries by storm would not be possible without data. Data is the enabler of new technologies and solutions. Data is where important and actionable business insights are derived. In a recent Udacity webinar titled “Shaping the Future of the Workforce,” the discussion centered on how Artificial and data science are the building blocks of digital transformation and there is a massive skills gap and substantial competition for talent surrounding those skill sets.

Regardless of the industry, companies are struggling to find qualified and experienced talent to not only help make sense of all the data but to use the data to be competitive. “How is your company going to deal with all this new information – as quick as your competition? There are key data job openings you need to fill and time is not on your side,” said Andrew Cartwright, Enterprise Sales Lead at Udacity.

Breakthroughs in machine learning, supported by the huge explosion of data are fueling the rapid rate of growth and development of artificial intelligence (AI) regardless of the industry. AI is at the forefront of a tidal wave of disruption. Employees today not only lack the right set of skills, but the ones they currently have are becoming obsolete over time. And, companies want to integrate AI strategies, but the don’t have the right talent with the right skills. In fact, there are less than 10,000 professionals in the world with the skills necessary to tackle AI. “Yet, we know the talent need for AI is over one million and we currently have over 100,000 students studying AI related fields. So, one of the biggest roadblocks in the active adoption of AI across industries is the sheer scarcity of appropriately skilled professionals,” Andrew Cartwright reiterated.

In order for organizations to bridge the talent gap the webinar stressed four key areas:

  1. establish continuous workforce training,
  2. derive proficiency in real-world skills beyond videos and online tests,
  3. establish ongoing workforce assessment and calibration,
  4. generate access to top-tier talent pool, internal and external

Academic institutions, companies, and online education providers are combining their efforts to find and foster talent. Organizations can enrich their staff through internal training, while at the same time creating the right conditions to accumulate and retain new talent.

The concept of lifelong learning is accordingly transforming from a discretionary aspiration to a career necessity. No longer is it a supplemental luxury to learn new skills, and no longer is learning new skills something you do only when you’re pursuing a significant career change. Being relevant, competitive, and in-demand in today’s fast-moving world requires an ongoing commitment to lifelong learning regardless of your role or career path.

At Udacity, we are committed to very similar objectives and strategies. Our industry partnerships are critical to the success of our approach, both in terms of establishing “a true 21st century curriculum,” and for developing a “clearer view on future skills and employee needs.” Our emphasis on learn-by-doing is fueled by our desire to help see every employee we teach be in-demand.

To watch the replay of the webinar, please go here. To learn more about our Enterprise offerings, you can visit: https://www.udacity.com/enterprise