According to some estimates, only about 10,000 programmers in the world have the necessary expertise to develop advanced AI algorithms. But that’s barely a drop in the bucket for what companies will need in their future workforces. That’s why several high-tech giants are working on creating user-friendly platforms that will help spread AI technologies to more non-technical people in the workforce.

This “democratization of AI” will happen in two ways. First, it will enable employees across a large organization to develop their own AI applications to make them better at their jobs.

But it will also allow small firms to deploy some of the same AI capabilities that have heretofore been limited to large corporations. That means that the competitive advantage could soon be shifting from those companies with advanced in-house AI expertise to those firms that have the most innovative ideas for utilizing the technology.

Mazin Gilbert has an ambitious goal. As vice president of advanced technologies at AT&T, Gilbert wants to make AI technologies widely available throughout the corporation, especially to those who might not have a computer science background and may not even know how to program.

Call it the “democratization of AI.” To accomplish that goal, AT&T is building a user-friendly platform with point-and-click tools that will enable employees — up to one-quarter of the company’s workforce — to build their own AI applications. AT&T and a host of other companies are trying to address a crucial issue in business: the severe shortage of AI talent. Read more from hbr.org…

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