HKBU School of Business speaks at WSJ AI Executive Forum01 Apr, 2021
The forum gathered experts from some of the world’s major corporations, including Facebook, TransUnion and Philips, to discuss their accelerated plans for adopting new digital technologies to unleash the potential of AI and machine learning.
Dr. Dorothy Chau and Mr. Jason Lau, Adjunct Professors of the HKBU School of Business, joined the conversation at the session titled “The Talent Deficit: When AI Demand Far Outstrips Supply”. As industry insiders, with Dr. Chau as the Director of Hong Kong, Macao and Cross-border Financial Affairs at Tencent, and Mr. Lau the Chief Information Security Officer of Crypto.com, the professors deep dived into talent developments for the ever-expanding and changing sector, and shared their experience and learning as an educator and a practitioner’s perspectives.
As a leading figure in the cybersecurity sector, Mr. Lau believed the demand of AI innovation would continue to grow in all aspects and industries. However, with the pressing needs involving AI’s developments, the lack of AI talents is a major concern for most companies. He urged non-tech businesses to start from looking inwards. “Companies should first find talents from what you already have in your existing teams, be they marketing, IT or sales team, and consider upskilling them, because they have been involved in the day to day business so they understand it the best from the inside out, so they can be trained with technology knowledge and use it to facilitate the business,” Mr. Lau suggested, “Don't just jump all straight in to buy technology, AI-products to grow your business. Find the business driver and understand the core business and strategies first, and think about how technology can help your business expand and execute your strategies.”
Dr. Chau spoke on talent development for the AI sector from her vast experience as Director for Tencent Finance Academy (Hong Kong). The surging market demand for AI-relevant talents in all industries “gives a rise of needs for universities to nurture talents in different aspects, and gives rooms to students from non-technical background, from designers to marketers, to join the field,” Dr. Chau explained, “not everyone in the AI field is in R&D, we need people to know a bit of computer science and a bit of business rationales to connect the bridge of both sides, to transform a technology into some marketable products for the benefits of the public.”
The Forum also touched upon the topic of the ethical issues relevant to AI and data analytics. Mr. Lau advised to think twice before collecting and using the data whether it is beneficial to the business and end users and respectful to the individuals and companies. It is also a core part for universities to include and deep dive into this topic when they teach relevant courses to ensure the graduates understand the importance of being an ethical business leader.