London, 6th April 2017 - Following the launch of the accounting industry’s first chatbot, Sage has announced a programme designed to empower the next generation with the AI and bot skills needed as the UK takes the lead on the global Bots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) movement.
As part of Sage Foundation, over the next six months, Sage will establish a ‘BotCamp’ for over one hundred school-leavers and millennials, aged 16-25, giving them the opportunity to be at the leading edge of the technology industry. This programme is designed to be inclusive, and provide accessible technology skills that will help people to embrace, not fear, the 4th industrial revolution.
The maturity of the AI industry is still in its infancy, and the UK already faces a significant skills gap. Sage understands that investing in a solid foundation of AI and bot builders now ensures the industry has a strong talent pool for the future.
Stephen Kelly, CEO at Sage explains: “AI is an area where the UK leads – and with this announcement we are continuing to push boundaries. We are always looking for great talent to develop our AI capabilities, and the IT skills shortage is well-documented. Finding the right coders is imperative to laying the foundation for the future, and we want to open tech skills up to an audience who might otherwise see AI as a threat.”
Sage is currently working to develop a set of guiding principles to mitigate the concerns people have around the wider ethical context of AI. The programme will follow these guiding principles - which encourage diversity, accountability and ethical values - to ensure that any applications the ‘BotCamp’ graduates develop in the future are built in a safe way, with diversity in mind.
Kelly continues: “As millennials are great adopters of bots, we are giving them the opportunity to code for their future peers, business builders, and industry leaders. Delivering this through the Sage Foundation will help us meet our commitment to benefit young people around the world, and to do good in the communities we serve.”
Sage is investing in AI as a way for its millions of customers and accountants to automate parts of their business, making admin invisible. Securing the future of AI means that Sage, alongside the wider AI community, will be able to continue to build and innovate in areas such as AI driven smart assistants and predictive analytics. As AI evolves its gain could be significant; potentially solving humanitarian issues such as healthcare, education and access to public services.
Kriti Sharma, VP of bots and AI said: “Having piloted this programme with several school leavers, I believe it has the potential to completely change the mindsets of the young people who take part. We’re giving them the opportunity to believe that you don’t need a computer science degree to write code and create chatbots that will have a significant impact on the communities in which we live and work. And it’s not just about creating developers for Sage – we want to help bridge the digital skills gap we’re seeing in addition to bringing to the fore the next generation of bot creators who are going to solve social issues using their technical skills.”
Sage Summit UK is being supported by Diamond sponsors: Microsoft and PwC; Platinum sponsors: Draycir, Kimble Applications and Deloitte and Gold sponsors: Aviva Life Services UK Ltd, Certify, Elavon, humanforce, The People's Pension and Pinnacle.