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Zhou Zhongyun: Cultivate Compound AI Talents through Courses Integrated with Technology Iteration

Wed, Sep 13, 2023

Among the positions recruited in more than a dozen emerging industries, artificial intelligence (AI)-related new positions for fresh graduates this year have the largest proportion, up over 170% year on year, according to statistics from recruitment platforms. Among them, deep learning-related positions have an average annual salary of nearly RMB 420,000, ranking at the top of various positions. As AI technology is used more widely, the disparity between the supply and demand of related talents is becoming more pronounced. China combines efforts from enterprises, the government and universities to foster AI-related talent that is connected to high-paying professions. Zhou Zhongyun, associate professor at the Department of Management Science and Engineering, Tongji SEM, has recently been interviewed by CCTV’s Zhengdian Caijing column. In the interview, in combination with his teaching practice, Zhou discussed how economics and management courses can integrate technology iteration and meet industry demands to cultivate compound AI talents. The following is an excerpt from the interview.

Over the past three years, there has been a noticeable increase in the need for AI-related recruits, whether they are fresh graduates or experienced talents in society. According to a head of recruitment at an AI software company, there is a big shortage of talents, including R&D talents in bottom-layer chip computing power, R&D talents in middle-layer systems and platforms and talents in applying top-layer algorithm models to various industries, indicating a systemic talent gap.

Shanghai’s Putuo District, for instance, is home to more than 2,000 software information service enterprises, many of which, according to relevant authorities, have recently transformed toward AI, creating a sizable talent deficit. To solve this problem, government departments work with universities to develop talents, provide housing subsidies and money for startups, and establish special talent bases for AI.

Some AI enterprises, according to Li Wenbo, Director of Shanghai Putuo District Science and Technology Commission, require high-tech practical talents. To provide such talents, the government has proposed a list of training requirements, and is collaborating with specific universities to offer tailored training.

More than 400 undergraduate universities across China presently offer AI-related majors, according to statistics. However, the widespread application of AI has resulted in a gap in both specialized and compound talents. As a result, colleges and universities are accelerating talent cultivation through interdisciplinary cooperation between departments, introduction of new courses and partnerships with enterprises.

Associate Professor Zhou Zhongyun from Tongji SEM stated that some economics and management courses now include AI-related content. Examples include Chinese/English-taught undergraduate courses on business intelligence and data science for business, as well as graduate-level courses on big data analysis and intelligent decision-making.


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