Artificial intelligence is looking for good hands - Newspaper Kommersant No. 219 (7420) of 11/25/2022

Vladimir Putin invites the government and business to solve the large-scale task of mass introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in industries, in the social sphere and in public administration already this decade. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, who oversees the topic, promises that the penetration of AI into the industry will bring the Russian economy 1 trillion rubles. already in the coming years. However, the implementation of these plans requires not only financial injections and new rule-making, but also a solution to the problem of an acute shortage of personnel in the field of high technologies. Experts estimated the shortage of ICT specialists at 1 million people, pointing out that even before February, in terms of the share of ICT specialists in the employed population, Russia was about two times inferior to the EU countries.

If on the first day of the Artificial Intelligence Journey 2022 conference its participants discussed the scientific aspects of AI implementation, then the second day of the event was devoted to the economic issues of this process. So, at a business breakfast, they discussed what prevents businesses from implementing these AI technologies. From the speeches of the representatives of the companies it followed that the obstacles to this are, among other things, financial and personnel issues.

Speaking on Thursday, November 24, at the conference, Vladimir Putin raised the topic of AI is already at the state level. He stated the need for the massive introduction of AI in the economic and social sectors, as well as in the public administration system already in this decade. He explained such ambitious intentions, among other things, by the benefits from the introduction of AI. Referring to experts, the president said that "the prospects for an increase in the performance of individual industries are an additional 20-30% per decade." Earlier, at a business breakfast as part of the Digital Conference, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko said that the use of AI in various industries could bring 1 trillion rubles to the Russian economy. already in the coming years.

According to Vladimir Putin, each national project and state program should contain measures to introduce AI technologies in industries. The largest companies in their investment plans are also recommended to designate the introduction of AI as one of the key priorities. The authorities, judging by the words of the president, intend to control this process: starting from 2023, it is planned to monitor the results of the use of AI. To do this, it is proposed to create a special tool - the index of intellectual maturity of the regions' industries.

Declaring a desire to remove barriers to AI, Vladimir Putin instructed the government, together with relevant companies, to submit proposals for changing regulatory requirements, technology standards, regulations and other industry standards that impede the introduction of artificial intelligence.

The State Duma was recommended to expedite work on amendments to the law “On Personal Data” that regulate the circulation of anonymized information. This document was adopted in the first reading in February 2021.

However, perhaps more important than rule-making has now become the issue of personnel for AI. As the president noted, today companies are really hunting for specialists in this field. In this regard, words were said about creating comfortable and attractive conditions for the work of personnel in the field of AI in the country - it was also proposed to submit relevant proposals. “We certainly need to respond to this challenge, this is the common work of the state, business, and the education system,” Vladimir Putin commented on the shortage of specialists that has increased in the light of recent events.

It should be noted that the shortage of personnel in the Russian Federation in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) at the beginning of 2022 was estimated at ANO Tsifrovaya ekonomika at 1 million people. This deficit will only increase in the coming years. According to the indicator “Share of ICT specialists in the employed population”, the Russian Federation is approximately two times inferior to the EU countries (2.4% versus 4.5% in 2021).

Experts see the solution to the problem in the synergy of the efforts of the state and business, as well as in the use of the best foreign experience.

Firstly, experts suggest launching projects aimed at involving young and middle-aged children in learning IT and programming. For example, to popularize IT professions for schoolchildren with the help of federal television channels, as is done in the UK.

Secondly, they recommend implementing projects aimed at providing additional opportunities to receive education in ICT specialties at the level of secondary vocational and higher education.

Thirdly, it is proposed to create a national online platform for the development of professional competencies and career opportunities for ICT specialists. “The emergence of such a tool will contribute to the formation of a strong technical community and the development of a professional network in the field of ICT,” they point out.

Fourthly, it is recommended to involve more women in ICT work. On average, only about a third of ICT specialists in the world are women, in the Russian Federation their share is even smaller - about 15%.

Finally, fifthly, experts propose to develop and support teaching staff in the field of ICT (provide logistical, financial, methodological, and organizational assistance). So, abroad there are projects on community organization and systematic methodological support for teachers on a single online platform. There you can find ready-made curricula, educational resources, advanced training courses, and discuss approaches to improving computer technology education.

The projects that the state and business are implementing in the Russian Federation cover part of the need for ICT specialists, however, additional measures are required to increase the number of personnel and their share in the employed population, Karen Kazaryan, Director of Analytics at ANO Tsifrovaya ekonomika, believes.

Venera Petrova

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