The need of training in Spain and “Hybrid training”
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in Expolearning 2020 as a speaker, as the training director of ODISEIA (Observatory of Social and Ethical Impact of Artificial Intelligence) to share my knowledge about the training needs in Artificial Intelligence. My presentation was not the only one that highlighted the need for training in this area. In some of the presentations, I also had the opportunity to listen to the great need for professionals in the market and the new ways of training based on challenges and working not only on technology skills.
One of the key areas where the GTIC 2020 report focuses this year, whose focus is to measure talent and relate it to economic progress, is precisely in artificial intelligence. The report explores how the development of AI is changing the nature of jobs and leading to a reassessment of corporate structures and innovation ecosystems. New talent is required not only to carry out new responsibilities and ways of working, but also to capture value from this technological transformation. Artificial intelligence is no longer a discipline that only technologists have to learn, but a transversal discipline that is present and will be even more so in each and every job in the future.
On the other hand, the Spanish Strategy of 2019 in R&D on Artificial Intelligence focuses two of its six priorities on training. Firstly, to facilitate knowledge transfer and secondly to plan training and professionalization actions in this area. One of the conclusions of the report is that it is necessary to adapt the educational model, contemplating the “hybrid training” of science, technology and humanities. Training to think and act, not just to know. No concrete measures have yet been incorporated, nor have the corresponding adjustments been made to the curricula. Now more than ever we cannot lag behind in the knowledge of artificial intelligence at all levels of society, and training initiatives are needed at a country level and why not at a European level, which we can reuse, and which will allow us to advance more quickly.
Finland has started with a first step and has taken the lead in Europe with its plan to provide online training to its population with the initial objective of starting from scratch with a large percentage of its citizens and continuing to move forward as progress is made. Many Finnish companies have supported the initiative and are using the training for their workforces. In addition to Finnish, the training is in English and Finland has given it to the European Union so that it can be translated into the different languages. Also, initiatives such as IBM’s in Spain, with Watson goes to class, which aims to train high school teachers in AI to train their students, could be extended to all autonomous communities and different schools. Or the initiatives that are being carried out in many schools as extracurricular activities, training in robotics and AI, should be part of the educational plan and not an extracurricular activity.
If we ask students, the magazine “Educación 3.0”, reflected a few weeks ago as the areas of greatest interest to them about Artificial Intelligence, are the virtual assistants, the creation of better medical treatments and the identification of consumption patterns in social networks. There is interest on their part, but most of them are missing AI training even if they are not going to pursue a technology-related profession.
There is no doubt that we still have a long way to go in Spain, it is necessary to incorporate AI from school, so that the next generations can integrate it into their daily lives from childhood onwards and dedicate themselves to whatever they do in the future. In addition, it seems that the way of teaching should change and focus towards a “hybrid training“. As Alan Turing said, “We can only see a little bit of the future but enough to realize that there is a lot to do”, and we have to do it faster.