Microsoft is setting up an ‘AI university’ to address the talent shortage

Microsoft is so concerned about the shortage of AI skills that it’s setting up an ‘AI university’ to overcome it. Unfortunately, it’s only for Microsoft employees (for now.)

The internal AI university will train employees on different concepts that are important for the development of AI. Microsoft Research Director Chris Bishop says the program is designed to give practical skills and knowledge to people who are trained elsewhere in the business.

I recently covered Microsoft’s concern about the lack of AI talent on our sister publication, IoT News. The company is not alone, and many have voiced their concerns about private companies stealing talent from academia — which is in danger of leaving a generation without important skills.

For its part, Microsoft is taking an ethical approach to recruiting AI talent.

The company partners with universities to ensure it doesn’t steal talent, allows employees to continue roles in teaching, funds some related PhD scholarships, sends researchers to co-supervise students in universities, and offers paid internships to work alongside teams at Microsoft on projects.

For those who have AI skills, they are currently reaping the benefits of the shortage. AI talent is so in demand that employers are offering six-figure salaries.

These large salaries pose another problem as — while companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple can afford it — innovative startups have even less of a chance at competing against these established giants by not being able to offer the same huge paychecks.

Nevertheless, Microsoft’s continued approach to recruiting and training its own AI talent is commendable. Hopefully, other companies will follow to ensure the industry can thrive without being hindered by a lack of skills.

What are your thoughts on the AI talent shortage? Let us know in the comments.

Rojenx is a leading concept artist who work appears in games and publications

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