Artificial intelligence (AI) enters our lives in many different ways. AI makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. Most AI examples that you hear about today – from chess-playing computers to self-driving cars – rely heavily on deep learning. Deep learning is a branch of machine learning utilizing giant neural networks and massive data sets. Using these technologies, computers can be trained to accomplish specific tasks by processing large amounts of data and recognizing patterns in the data.
Artificial intelligence is growing exponentially in all the major sectors, including health, social media analysis, self-driving cars, language processing and others. The AlphaGo victory is just one of the signs of amazing things to happen. The understanding of artificial intelligence opens lots of opportunities.
If you’re considering working in AI as a data scientist or machine learning engineer but need to find a good starting point, here are a few things to consider in your learning journey:
Get your mathematics strong. You should have some appreciation of the mathematical underpinnings, especially linear algebra and calculus. Specifically, you’ll need to be comfortable with matrix multiplication and partial derivatives.
To get a development role on an AI team, be sure to have at least one to two years of software development and machine learning experience under your belt. This can include building your own projects or working at a company driving key projects such as image or text classification. A great place to look for machine learning projects is arXiv where researchers often publish their papers. You can sharpen your skills by implementing models and systems from papers that capture your interest.
Learn Python.This handy programming language is the tool of choice for most machine learning engineers and data scientists. Python’s syntax is relatively easy to pick up and it has a vibrant and helpful community. The language also has excellent documentation and tons of training resources. With tools such as Jupyter notebooks and libraries like Numpy and Pandas, Python has become the first choice for developing machine learning and deep learning applications. Outside of machine learning, Python is useful for developing websites, videos games, and more. Udacity can get you coding in Python and building your first neural network in just three months!
Learn mainstream deep learning libraries like TensorFlow or PyTorch. Most deep learning systems are built in either TensorFlow or PyTorch, Python frameworks that provide APIs for defining and training deep learning models. You’ll want to be experienced with at least one of these frameworks as most AI teams are using them for research or product development. You should also consider joining the machine learning community.
The biggest area of AI research today seeks to enable computers to make inferences from complex data. Techniques to do this are termed machine learning (ML). AI and ML are large and rapidly-developing fields. While it’s impossible to capture their full potential in a this blog post, we’d like to invite you to Mat’s workshop on Natural Language Processing at the Global AI Conference on January 24th from 2pm – 6pm PST in Santa Clara, California.
Digital transformation has further raised the need for change of the telco business model. Traditional telcos are almost indistinguishable—same services, different day—resulting in stagnant growth. Customers are constantly shopping around for what’s next, thanks to competition from born-digital market entrants and a growing demand for new services and immersive experiences. In an age of unprecedented disruption where brands cater to customers, telcos must adapt quickly or risk losing even long-time loyalists.
Enter Turkcell. Turkcell is a mobile phone service provider based in Turkey that also operates around nearby countries, with a total of 50 million subscribers, making it the third largest in Europe. In addition, they are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company has invested in building its own digital apps and services, reaching 110 downloads, 3 million of which are from outside of Turkey. The carrier’s current portfolio covers a communications platform dubbed BiP, music platform fizy, TV platform TV+, local search engine Yaani, secure login service Fast Login and digital payments company Paycell. The company has expanded its digital portfolio an embraced the needs of its consumers.
Turkcell needed to move rapidly in a market being transformed by digitalization and needed to make sure its employees were reskilled to handle the changes it was instituting on the technology side.
Turkcell Digital Masters Program
The company invested in the future of its workforce and created the Turkcell Digital Masters Program. Employed by Turkcell Academy and in partnership with Udacity, Turkcell Digital Masters trained employees in data analysis, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data entry, programming and business analysis. During the 9-month period, 1,088 Turkcell employees prepared a total of 4,878 projects, dedicating 10 hours a week to the program.
Just this past Friday, November 30, 2018 Turkcell held their graduation ceremony where they announced 751 new Udacity graduates from programs spanning from Data Foundations to Artificial Intelligence.
Udacity and Turkcell have been working together since 2017. The collaboration and passion has resulted in:
1,500 applications to the Udacity Nanodegree program
1,088 enrolled employees
751 Udacity graduates (500 attended the in-person ceremony)
4,878 total projects completed
19 news articles reached a distribution of 2.3M people
We wanted to congratulate all the new graduates! Udacity is proud to be working with Turkcell to help them transform their workforce.
I had the privilege of attending the Forbes CMO Summit 2018 a few weeks back. It was a veritable who’s who in the world of marketing, including (in no particular order) CMO’s from Hallmark, PepsiCo, Cadillac, Visa, Microsoft, Wendy’s, Ebay, Salesforce and more.
The overall theme was Champions of Change: CMOs at the Center of Business, Tech and Cultural Innovation. During my career in marketing, which if you must know spans several decades, the role of marketing has changed dramatically. Tools and concepts have changed, the audience is more sophisticated, with lofty expectations, and our organizations are now at the center of it all, owning everything from top of the funnel to revenue to up-sell, renewals and churn. But at the heart of it, we still need to connect one on one with people. Or as Forbes summed up the conference, “data is king, but the heart rules”.
Here are my top 5 takeaways that can be applied to every role in every organization:
1.) Be authentic – It’s easy to get caught up in the crazy that is our daily lives, both at work and home. It’s also very easy to fall into the spell of doing just enough, cutting corners, and in some cases, even being lazy (or as someone once put it, “having the minimum amount of flare”). But to truly be successful, productive (and happy), you really need to be present, be yourself, and be authentic – even if that scares you. Lindsey Foy, CMO of Hallmark, articulated this in her talk at the Summit, which is similar to her Ted talk here. It’s well worth the 17 minutes to watch.
2.) People first, not customers first – This is true for B2B, as well as the obvious B2C. In order to truly engage with buyers, you need to establish rapport and trust and then build on that relationship. Treat people as citizens of your company.
3.) Ask the question “how can I/we add value to that person’s life?”. – By doing this you are focusing on the needs of your customers. I can’t tell you how many sales calls I’ve been on where the person tells me what their solution/features/benefits are without asking me about my needs. But this is also true of marketing collateral I see (and sometimes create). In other words, too focused on what it is versus what value it will bring, not just to the company, but to the end users or consumers of the product or solution.
4.) Live the brand. Become the story. – When I was at Oracle, we had a saying, “eat your own dog food.” Sounds trite, but for me it was meaningful. We used our own software to do our job. We had specific insight to its features, how to use it, what worked, and what didn’t work. We actually ended up creating a case study on it. Can’t get any more “live the brand, become the story” than that. But by doing this, it helped us develop the right content and programs to attract them. And let’s face it, if you’re not working for a company you believe in, you’re probably not going to be happy.
5.) Create the right environment for the above to happen seamlessly – Above all else, as leaders, we need to create the kind of environment for 1-4 to exist and thrive.
It’s not often we take the time out of our busy schedule to participate in events like this. Turning the laptop off, putting away the phone, cancelling all meetings and truly being present. For me, this was a great reminder of why I went into marketing in the first place. These takeaways and concepts aren’t new. They are not groundbreaking. They are just reminders of the ways we might have strayed and how to get back on the right path (whatever that may be for you).
So to summarize – be authentic, value customers, and live your brand. Super easy, right?!? Now go forth and be a champion of change.
Written by: Christina Del Villar, Global Head of Marketing, Enterprise at Udacity
Christina is passionate about seeing companies transform, grow and scale, leveraging technology. With over 20 years of executive-level growth marketing experience at Fortune 100 companies and over 10 startups, she has a successful history of building teams that execute innovative go-to-market roadmaps and strategy. Christina loves working with companies that are going through a growth phase and she has the experience and industry perspective needed to take growing businesses to the next level. Her role at Webgility put Christina in a unique position to impact the e-tail industry with powerful e-commerce solutions. Her most recent role at Udacity, involves shifting the company focus from a B2C model to a B2B model. Christina also enjoys traveling, participating in endurance events, and working with various nonprofits, including Team Ronald McDonald House and Best Buddies.
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.
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:
Computer vision engineers
Machine learning engineer
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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