Major pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is gearing up its use of artificial intelligence (AI) by recruiting 80 specialists in the field by the end of 2020. Plans are in place for the technology to be utilised for the development of future medicines.
The company is however struggling to hire enough AI researchers and engineers from areas such as Silicon Valley and is looking elsewhere to fill the positions, such as former employees in academia, the US Navy and the music industry.
GlaxoSmithKline is the UK’s largest drugmaker by revenue.
It’s AI unit will be based in San Francisco, with a company executive conceding that competition for AI professionals is fierce. He told the Guardian: “In AI, we are scouring the planet for the best people. These folks are very rare to find. Competition is high and there aren’t a large number of them.”
AI, broadly speaking, refers to the use of trained algorithms to carry out tasks, which computers have learned to do through a series of repetitive processes instead of instruction from humans. AI has successfully managed to speed up the process of drug development by pharmaceutical companies and increase the success rate of new medicines from 10 per cent currently.
The Government of Malta has announced a National AI strategy, with objectives such as holding discussions on the subject with stakeholders to build awareness on key topics and issues that will form the national AI Framework.
In terms of education and workforce, the Government has committed to plans for the impact of technology and automation on the Maltese labour market to be assessed and proposes measures to assist workers to develop new digital skills. It pledged to increase the number of AI specialists and equip all students on higher education programmes in Malta with AI knowledge.