How is AI shaping the future of telcom?
Telcom, similarly to finance, retail, shipping and logistics and other industries, are experiencing a shift in the nature of work due to increased automation, robotization and AI. The routine tasks are being replaced by robots and advanced analytics. Today, the most frequent AI applications in telcom are chatbots for handling customer interface, preventive maintenance of network operations (including handling of security threats), personalised marketing and sales tips.
What types of training or skills are needed to stay relevant in the era of AI?
I would distinguish four types of skills that will be critical for the next generation of the workforce: 1) Basic digital skills will be required for life and work to benefit fully from an increasingly digital and automated world. 2) Technical skills, in particular coding, data science and engineering, but also specific technical skills required for medicine or other professions, digital marketing. 3) Higher-order cognitive skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, data-driven decision making. 4) Social and emotional skills, like empathy, interpersonal communication, negotiations and partnering, entrepreneurship and innovation.
What can governments and policy makers do to ensure that the workforce remains relevant for the age of AI?
Large-scale investments into new skills and education of the next generation workforce will be essential to survive in the AI game. Since many governments consider similar initiatives in their AI plans, strategic and long-term view on that will be important for policy makers in a given country. What is your take on where Europe currently stands on AI visà- vis Asia?
AI is a global race for excellence, where US and China are dominating today. Canada is increasingly topping up the charts. It is fair to say that both Europe and South East Asia are lagging behind in terms of private and public investments into AI research and education. Talents are the most scarce resource in that race, and this is where both regions are losing to global Internet giants in the US and China. The most viable AI start-up and innovation ecosystems are outside those regions today. Largest M&A transactions are also made in the US and China. What is also fair to say is that both European and South East Asian countries have put AI ambitions high on their political agendas and started pulling out national AI plans in search for unique ways to compete in the AI race. Three things are common, though. First, building on the regions´ (and countries´) industrial strengths and comparative advantages are considered a viable AI strategy. Second, a concerted (regional) action is seen as a strength in the global AI race. Third, there are unique vulnerabilities for AI adoption in Europe and in Asia that reflect national debates and shape AI strategies, accordingly.
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