Government, business and academia are talking a good game when it comes to tackling the digital skills shortage but now there is a new menace on the market, with a lack of deep learning skills threatening to put the kibosh on widescale adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
According to a new study, over four-fifths (83%) of organisations believe the deep learning skills shortage is affecting their ability to compete in the market, with nearly half (49%) blaming the issue for delaying projects, while a similar proportion (44%) see the shortage as posing a major barrier to further investment in deep learning.
The research, carried out by operational AI firm Peltarion across the UK and Nordic regions, also shows nearly three-quarters (71%) of businesses are actively recruiting in an effort to remedy the skills gap. This could either indicate businesses are adopting a more proactive approach to the issue, or that the lack of talent is prolonging the recruitment process, the study says.
The problem is further aggravated by a "chicken and egg" scenario, Peltarion claims, with almost half (45%) of firms saying they are struggling to hire because they do not already have a mature AI program in place.
Peltarion co-founder and CEO Luka Crnkovic-Friis said: "Companies can’t afford to wait for data science talent to come to them to progress their AI projects. The current approach, which relies on hiring an isolated team of data scientists to work on deep learning projects, is delaying projects and putting strain on the talent companies do have.”
Crnkovic-Friss believes one solution is to provide existing teams with the tools they need to capitalise on deep learning opportunities, and allow other members of the workforce to contribute to AI projects.
“This will reduce the strain on data scientists and lower deep learning’s barrier to entry. We need to make deep learning more affordable and accessible to all by reducing its complexity,” he concluded.