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Toshiba surpasses AI engineer recruitment targets; outlines seven artificial intelligence principles

Japanese electronics giant Toshiba is all-in on artificial intelligence. The company has surpassed its recruitment targets by increasing its engineer headcount from 750 to 2,100 in the space of three years.

Jasper Spanjaart on September 09, 2022 Average reading time: 3 min
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Toshiba surpasses AI engineer recruitment targets; outlines seven artificial intelligence principles

Digital transformation (DX) is a global trend, making the development and application of AI technology more important than ever. It’s something the Toshiba Group has gone all-in on. The company has announced it has surpassed its 2022 recruitment plans, by increasing its engineer headcount to total of 2,100.

It comes at a time wherein global IT organisations suffer with a serious skills shortage. In a September Gartner survey of over 400 global IT organizations, 64% of IT executives said that a lack of skilled talent was the biggest barrier to adoption of emerging technologies, compared to 4% the previous year.

Europe’s Tech sector is ‘disadvantaged’

En masse, companies are looking for employees with specific training, skills and personal traits to fill AI positions. But Europe’s tech sector could be disadvantaged in the long run, a study by IBM shows. IBM’s report, ‘Addressing the AI Skills Gap in Europe’, exposes a worrying shortfall in skills required for a career in AI. IBM’s research notes that nearly 7 in 10 tech job seekers and tech employees believe that potential recruits lack the skills necessary for a career in AI.

IBM’s research notes that nearly 7 in 10 tech job seekers and tech employees believe that potential recruits lack the skills necessary for a career in AI.

According to the report, there’s a soft skills mismatch. “Although technical capabilities are vital for a career in the sector, problem solving is considered the most critical soft skill needed for tech roles among all survey participants (up to 37%)”, the report states. “However, around a quarter of tech recruiters (23%) have difficulty finding applicants with this aptitude along with shortfalls in critical and strategic thinking.”

Toshiba one step ahead

As many European organisations suffer similar problems, Japan-based Toshiba is seemingly one step ahead. Toshiba introduced an AI engineer training program in 2019, subsequently increasing the AI engineer headcount from 750 to 2,100, surpassing their fiscal year’s target of 2,000. The company has also set up an in-house platform for proactive sharing of information on over 200 AI assets, 55 of which are now showcased at Toshiba AI Technology Catalog.

 

Toshiba will also develop AI training programs for a wider range of employees, not limited to managers or engineers.

Alongside its training program, the company also plans to increase the number of employees who understand AI. Alongside the 2019 engineer training program, it recently introduced new training that will enhance the AI literacy of non-engineering managers, in an attempt to improve their ability to provide trustworthy AI to customers. Finally, the company will also develop AI training programs for a wider range of employees, not limited to managers or engineers.

AI legislation and guidelines

For Europe, AI legislation may soon be on its way. In April 2021, the European Union proposed what was in essence a combination of the first-ever legal framework on AI and a coordinated plan that guarantees the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses. Japan, meanwhile, has formulated its own set of — albeit non-binding — principles for ethical guidelines.

Toshiba seems fully aware of the downside to over-reliance or unintended misuse of AI, and has subsequently outlined its own seven principles in an AI governance guideline. “While AI adds to convenience, problems from its misuse or unintended operation point to the need for ethical guidelines and governance covering its utilisation. Addressing AI governance is now a must for companies that use AI”, the company said.

1. Respect for human dignity

In the course of our daily activities, Toshiba strives to realise a human-centric society where humans and AI can live in true harmony, working on the research, development, provision and operation of AI with respect for human dignity.

2. Ensuring safety and security

Toshiba takes privacy and security very seriously as it strives to research, develop, provide and operate AI. We put ourselves in our customers’ shoes as we continually work to maintain and improve AI quality in the aim of realising a safe and secure society.

3. Commitment to compliance

Toshiba researches, develops, provides and operates AI while placing the utmost importance on strictly adhering to laws and regulations, societal norms, and ethics.

4. Developing AI and cultivating talent

Bringing together the creativity and technological abilities it has cultivated since its establishment, Toshiba continues to advance AI while continually striving to find new and better ways. We will also work to train human resources that can research, develop, and use AI that contribute to resolving social issues for a more prosperous future, while fully understanding the advantages and disadvantages of AI.

5. Realising a sustainable society

Always thinking about how what we do will change the world for the better and looking to the future beyond the generations to come, Toshiba will contribute to developing a sustainable society that can successfully tackle issues such as global environmental problems and climate change where people with diverse backgrounds can pursue their well-being by researching, developing, providing and operating AI.

6. Emphasis on fairness

Respecting human rights, Toshiba will work to research, develop, provide and operate AI with consideration given to fairness to avoid unjustified discrimination. We will also work in partnership with our stakeholders to create abundantly diverse value using this AI.

7. Emphasis on transparency and accountability

Toshiba aims to secure transparency so that it is able to explain to its stakeholders the mechanisms behind the AI decisions used in its products and services. We will also work to fulfil accountability through repeated dialogue with stakeholders about the diverse benefits and effects that can be expected when using AI in society.

(Source: Toshiba AI Governance Statement, 2022)

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Editor-in-Chief and Writer at ToTalent.eu
Editor-in-Chief and writer for European Total Talent Acquisition platform ToTalent.eu.
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