By Espie Angelica A. de Leon
Local business and IT leaders and workers now have easier access to artificial intelligence (AI) education as software titan Microsoft has launched AI Business School, a free, on-demand, and non-technical platform designed to help business communities around the world to learn about AI.
The AI learning tool also aims to pave the way for companies to eventually adopt the technology which helps accelerate business growth, raises customer engagement, productivity, and competitiveness.
AI Business School features a master class series of 10 brief case studies, five academic lectures, four practical guides, seven technology lectures, and 15 executive insight videos. Included are use cases from the manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and financial services industries, among others.
It features different modules on how to define an AI strategy, enable an AI-ready culture, ethical AI in business, and AI technology for business leaders.
The AI education platform also comes with tools that will assess an organization’s readiness for AI adoption and provides a walkthrough of Microsoft’s own AI evolution.
“The AI Business School actually complements the previous AI Academy that we launched that focused on technology skills,” said Microsoft Philippines solutions specialist for data and AI solutions Jek Hermida.
The launch came after Microsoft and International Data Corporation Asia Pacific released the findings of a study titled “Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia’s Growth Potential Through AI.”
According to the study which polled business leaders and workers in Europe, the US, and Asia Pacific including the Philippines, merely 45% of organizations in the country have started to embark on AI adoption.
“This reinforces the need to increase awareness and understanding of AI especially for Filipino business leaders and companies,” said Microsoft Philippines chief operations officer Christian Lim.
Moreover, despite the high expectations on AI among Philippine survey participants with 74% of business leaders and another 74% of workers believing it will positively impact existing jobs, Philippine enterprises as a whole do not have the kind of culture required for effective AI adoption.
However, the study also indicated that 88% of organizations are willing to reskill their employees to equip them with the skillset necessary for AI adoption.
This skillset is composed of digital competencies, IT and programming skills, adaptability and continuous learning, quantitative analytical, and statistical skills.
According to Hermida, the demand for these skills are higher than the existing supply. Yet, barriers to reskilling efforts exist, she added. Among these barriers are cost, lack of time for education, lack of knowledge of which courses to take, and limited access to connectivity.
“We really want to empower everyone in the organization to know more about AI. But even though we may have connectivity within the organization, not everyone in the organization is allowed to access these tools. So we have to make these tools pervasive so that everyone in the organization will be empowered to use these tools,” Hermida added.