AI can't reach its potential without more trained experts.

Experts Needed

Artificial intelligence is already all over the place — in our phones, in our cars, even in our bookstores. But we're still missing the one thing we need for the tech to reach true ubiquity: people who understand it.

On Monday, a Reuters feature concluded that we simply don't have enough AI-trained job-seekers to meet the economy's need for them — and that the shortage is holding the tech back on multiple fronts.

Multi-Level Dilemma

The supply/demand disparity in AI experts is hurting both individual businesses and the economy as a whole.

First, it's forcing companies to move more slowly on AI implementation than they might like. “We have had difficulty filling jobs for a number of years,” Andrew Shinn, a chip design manager at a company that makes semiconductor products, told Reuters. “It does slow things down.”

Second, the shortage of trained experts is impeding the adoption of AI on the whole. "[The shortage] will definitely slow the rate of diffusion of the new technology and any productivity gains that accompany it,” University of Chicago business professor Chad Syverson told the publication.

Educate the Youth

Meeting the workforce's growing need for AI experts begins with education, and we are making progress on that front, according to Reuters's report.

Universities are creating new AI-focused programs and expanding the numbers of students they accept into existing ones. Once these students graduate, employers snap them up, and that career security could inspire more young people to pursue careers in AI.

Still, the supply of AI-trained job-seekers isn't expected to meet the demand for another five years, economist Anthony Chamberlain told Reuters — an economic delay that could slow the spread of AI more than any technological factor.

READ MORE: As Companies Embrace AI, It's a Job-Seeker's Market [Reuters]

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