Huawei has announced its strategy to develop artificial intelligence, including how it will develop much needed talent for AI.

The company will look at five key areas, Huawei’s Rotating Chairman Eric Xu announced. First, it will develop talent with an “open ecosystem” for AI, collaborating with academia, industries and partners globally, Xu said at the Huawei Connect 2018 conference in Shanghai. The company plans to develop 1 million AI developers and partners in the next three years.

Currently, only about 1% of the demand for AI talent globally is being met, he added. “Lack of AI talent, especially data scientists, has long been seen as a major obstacle to AI progress. Data scientists are scarce and will remain so in the future.”

The second focus in Huawei’s plan will be to build easy-to-use and automated AI platforms that will help train people to deal with massive volumes of data. It will build “platforms, tools, services, and training and education programmes to foster a huge number of data science engineers”, Xu said.

At present, AI can only be built by highly skilled experts. “Moving forward, we need a one-stop platform that provides the necessary automation tools, making it easier and faster to develop AI applications,” he said. With this, AI will become a “basic skill of all application developers, even all ICT workers”.

Huawei’s third focus will be to invest in AI research to develop more efficient machine learning algorithms. These would require less data and power, and be more secure and trusted, in areas like computer vision and natural language.

“Algorithms of the future should be data-efficient. That means they can deliver the same results with less data,” Xu said. “Algorithms must be secure and explainable. Algorithms like these will set the stage for broad-scale AI development.”

The two other parts of the strategy will look at improving the company’s own products and operations with AI. One area will be to “bring an AI mindset” to its existing portfolio of products. Another will be to “apply AI to massive volumes of routine business activities” within the company itself.

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