The advanced economy in urgent need of AI talent

Companies are taking matters into their own hands as the third biggest economy in the world isn’t training up enough experts in artificial intelligence
By: | August 8, 2019

It may come as a surprise but Japan, one the most forward-thinking and technology-savvy countries in Asia, isn’t people-ready for the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. While its prime minister Shinzo Abe recently pledged to train 250,000 people with AI skills by 2025, many think this is too little, too late.

A wide range of companies are now boosting their own AI capabilities by increasing pay for the right candidates, and recruiting foreign technology talent.

One Japanese firm has decided to take an unusual route to bolster AI expertise. Daikin Industries, the world’s biggest maker of air conditioners, has created an in-house AI training programme for new graduates and current employees.

They may come in with very little AI background, but Daikin wants to train them up to help it compete with big technology giants like Sony. As part of this ambitious training programme, Daikin wants to make 1,000 employees “AI-smart” by 2022.

The competition for the brightest AI brains is fierce, particularly in the technology and financial services industries.

The worry is that if Japan is facing talent shortages in AI, what does this mean for less forward-thinking economies in the region.

Only time will tell.