Japanese Government aims to produce 250,000 AI experts a year

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TOKYO - Japan will try to increase the talent proficiency in artificial intelligence, up to 250,000 people, above only a few thousand per year, according to a government plan held on Friday.

All the students enrolled in universities and technical schools will be made mandatory to take an initial AI course based on the draft proposal released in a cabinet-level innovation panel.

With approximately 600,000 secondary graduates per year, the goal is to keep 250,000 advanced AI specializations from them. This number will include 120,000 science and technology majors and 60,000 large companies of health sciences from the four-year colleges. Another 70,000 large companies of liberal arts, representing 17% of the 420,000 students in that area, will be rounded overall.

The increasing trend of "Internet of Things" technology - where devices and systems are connected and able to share information - and large data are important in rapidly developing AI products and finding new business opportunities.

Tokyo University professor Osamu Sudoh, who specializes in information science said, "Talent will expand in the fields of science and art." "If at the top, world-class talent is produced out of 100,000 people, then Japan will take its competitive advantage."

According to a government task force, only 2,800 students complete a master's degree in AI research. The target of 250,000 per year can look like a high bar, but it is the level necessary for AI experts to reduce labor shortage, which is likely to reach 300,000 by the end of 2020.

Koji Kono said at the Mizuho Information and Research Institute, "If college and technical students learn science, they can start working on AI and sales of projects."

These efforts will go along with the measures being taken in education and the private sector. Shiga University, which established Japan's first data science department in 2017, will offer the master's degree program starting next month. Out of the 23 people due to enter, 80% will be working adults sent by businesses.

Insurance provider Sompo Holdings has offered an AI training program for both the people inside and outside the company since 2017. Three-month courses are organized twice a year and have produced 100 graduates, some of which are recruited by the company.

Not only does Persol Career match data scientists and AI technologists with employers, but the staffing company also offers an educational program for talent on its roster. However, there are many obstacles in the way of bringing about 250,000 AI experts each year, however, due to being sufficient teachers.

Yuki Matsumoto, chief technology officer of e-commerce and internet company DMM.com, said, "Market rates for AI teachers have increased in the last decade." "If you do not provide them with remuneration or the amount they receive in the private sector, it will be difficult to secure AI talent for the classes."

According to the British Staffing Agency Hays, Japanese data scientists earn up to 12 million yen ($ 109,000) a year. It is less than 1 million yuan ($ 148,000) in China and 180,000 Singapore dollars ($ 133,000) in Singapore.

And the salary for teachers is still low. The average Japanese high school teacher makes 4.32 million yen annually, while for college trainers, this figure rises to 5.52 million, government statistics say. Due to demands from businesses, the number of AI trainers available to teach college students can be limited.

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