Amazon to bolster ranks with free AI classes

The efforts by corporations to retrain their workforce in response to AI advancements are still in early stages. They are grappling with identifying which job roles will be affected by AI’s elimination and which will be enhanced by it. The anticipated changes brought by AI are expected to require employees to learn new skills or undergo additional training.

Jane Oates, President of WorkingNation and a former Labor Department official, highlighted workers’ ability to adapt and learn new skills. However, she raised concerns about determining the specific skills required due to the rapid evolution of generative AI and the optimal timing for training initiatives.

“It’s going to be complicated,” Oates remarked. “I definitely would not use the word easy.”

Companies like Jones Lang LaSalle and Salesforce have started AI training programs to assist their workforce in navigating these changes. Allison Horn, Managing Director of Accenture’s talent consulting services, noted that numerous leaders are now considering strategies to prepare their employees for effective collaboration with AI.

Spencer Kimball, CEO of Cockroach Labs, noted the demand for training that enables employees to integrate basic AI functionalities into their work, even in tech firms. Kimball emphasized the continuous nature of training in the face of rapidly evolving technological advancements.

Amazon highlighted a shortage of AI specialists based on a joint survey with consulting firm Access Partnership, revealing that almost three-fourths of surveyed employers struggled to find the AI talent they needed, despite planning to deploy AI within the next five years.

Sivasubramanian, an Amazon executive, emphasized the company’s goal to democratize generative AI education to reskill workers, benefiting both Amazon and its enterprise clients seeking AI-proficient employees. The executive highlighted the significance of skills like prompt engineering, essential for effectively instructing generative AI.

Amazon’s recent program expansion aims to reskill workers in AI, specifically focusing on generative AI, seeking feedback to refine the training. The program includes courses on Amazon’s platforms, such as Bedrock AI and CodeWhisperer, alongside material related to Amazon’s business customers and AI partner companies.

In the generative AI realm, Amazon has been seen as trailing behind competitors like Microsoft and Google. Nevertheless, Amazon’s Chief Executive Andy Jassy expressed expectations of significant revenue from AWS due to generative AI and highlighted AI’s integration across Amazon’s operations. Moreover, the company’s investment in Anthropic for AI software deployment using Amazon’s custom chips underscores its commitment to advancing in the AI landscape.

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