Momentum builds among Big Tech firms for AI reskilling initiatives


When Microsoft Corp. announced earlier this month that it would equip 2 million people in India with AI reskilling opportunities by 2025, it marked another milestone in a quest by major tech companies to provide new training.

“Machines have always replaced humans — we have walked this path before,” according to Shelly Kramer, managing director and principal analyst at theCUBE Research, in her recent report on AI reskilling. “However, for the first time in history, machines are now replacing cognitive tasks typically handled by humans. New skills will be required to train people on the many things humans can do better than machines and the responsibility that large companies like Microsoft and others must lead in this reskilling effort.”

In her full analysis, Kramer assessed the significance of Microsoft’s announcement, similar initiatives by other major companies and research showing the impact of generative AI on next-generation employees.

AI reskilling for job seekers

The Microsoft initiative is intended to address inequalities that could arise as particular jobs or tasks are replaced by technology. Microsoft will partner with India’s Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, along with 10 state governments, to provide basic and advanced training in AI for 500,000 job seekers. The company will also provide in-depth technical skills training for 100,000 young women.

“While not the first skills initiative Microsoft has launched, the fact that it is in India, which is home to what is arguably one of the biggest potential workforces in the world, is significant,” according to Kramer.

Microsoft’s announcement followed several initiatives recently unveiled by other major tech firms. IBM Corp. has committed to the training of 2 million people in AI over the next three years, with a focus on underrepresented communities. Google Cloud has announced a new set of generative AI training content, available at no cost. Inc.’s Upskilling 2025 pledge includes a $1.2 billion commitment to upskill and reskill Amazon employees.

“It’s good to see the Big Tech players invest in reskilling and retraining and also their focus on mitigating inequities that the adoption of AI will no doubt cause, especially for those in entry or mid-level roles and/or in developing countries where skills training, education and providing opportunities for the marginalized are literally life-changing,” according to Kramer.

Read the full analysis here.

Image: iStock

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