SoftBank Corp. Unveils Program to Help Students Develop AI Literacy and Skills

AI Challenge

While AI is becoming indispensable to many aspects of modern life, employers are struggling to find people with the necessary AI skills. Japan is not alone in facing this conundrum. Although the number of AI software system developers in the country is on the rise, there is an acute shortage of people who can plan, implement, market and manage AI-based products and services.

To address this issue, SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) is launching a new initiative called the “AI Challenge” in April 2022. The educational program aims to foster the AI skills of high school students in Japan.

AI Challenge

At a press conference held in Tokyo on October 20, 2021, Masato Ikeda, Vice President and Head of SoftBank’s CSR Division, explained the details and goals of the AI Challenge program.

The AI Challenge is comprised of two courses: the AI Application Literacy Course, which familiarizes students with AI and lets them experience creating AI programs, and the AI Application Hands-on Course, which offers practical coursework so students can put their AI knowledge and experience into practice.

In the Literacy Course, students learn AI basics by studying real-life business examples from SoftBank Corp. and its group companies, and employees from those companies offer practical advice on problem-solving methods, and more.

In the Hands-on Course, students will be able to create their own AI models and embed them into web services, the humanoid robot “Pepper,” and other applications. The course materials use cutting-edge AI building environments for discriminative, predictive and conversational systems, including Prediction One, a predictive analysis tool offered at a special price by Sony Network Communications Inc. as part of its social contribution activities.

AI Challenge

These two courses will be ready for adoption at high schools across Japan in line with the new information courses, "Information Study I" and "Information Study II," which are scheduled to be part of the high school curriculum from the next academic year, which starts April 2022.

With this new AI Challenge initiative and other programs, SoftBank will work to nurture children of the next generation so they can utilize AI in the Society 5.0 era.

(Posted on October 26, 2021)
by SoftBank News Editors