The Applied AI Personnel Training Program, A Joint Project with IBM Japan, To Begin April 2019

Public Relations Office        July 11, 2018

Career support via chatbot also launched

 As the result of a joint project with IBM Japan that has been progressing since last September, Kwansei Gakuin University will launch the “Applied AI Personnel Development Program,” a class targeted at all students, in April 2019. The class aims to train “AI personnel,” defined as “personnel who possess AI and data science-related knowledge, and furthermore, have the ability to use that knowledge to resolve various real-world problems,” and is for liberal arts students and sciences students alike. Meanwhile, at the Career Center, the staff has developed a “chatbot” using the IBM Watson Assistant to enhance career support and improve student satisfaction, and it began operations starting on July 2nd.

 Kwansei Gakuin University made a joint presentation with IBM Japan on July 10th. At the meeting, President Osamu Murata spoke enthusiastically about the class, saying “There are analyses which state that jobs will be lost due to AI development, but naturally, it will lead to new jobs as well, and personnel who can skillfully use AI will absolutely be necessary. This is an extremely important perspective to have in Japanese society, and we believe that universities should bear the responsibility for training those personnel.”

【 Click to enlarge. 】

Mr. Yamaguchi of IBM Japan

Mr. Yamaguchi of IBM Japan

 Akio Yamaguchi, Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer at IBM Japan, commented that “IT and AI are applied in various settings, and in this industry, workloads are steadily growing. However, the number of working people is shrinking. I think that developing personnel—including students—who can take advantage of AI more quickly than before, as well as supplying that knowhow, are vital responsibilities.”
 The Applied AI Personnel Development Program, as well as career support via chatbot using the IBM Watson Assistant, were implemented as specific measures toward ensuring “fulfilling and abundant lives” and “high-quality employment” for students, as stated in the Kwansei Grand Challenge 2039, which was released to the public in March. The university will consider developing specific measures based on the Long-Term Strategy as joint projects between KGU and IBM in the future.

■The Applied AI Personnel Development Program
Consisting of 10 courses (20 credits), the program is comprehensive and very practical, encompassing AI literacy, AI skills, IT skills, data science skills and project-based learning. Students who obtain 18-20-credits in the program will be given a certificate of completion. Professor Hiroyoshi Miwa of the School of Science and Technology, who was involved in the program’s development, is in charge of the program. Prof. Miwa has had a long career dealing with Ai-related projects. In the PBL course, there are plans to use IBM Japan’s Osaka Client Experience Center in Nakanoshima, Osaka for practical exercises.

The chatbot is a service that can respond to approximately 600 questions from students relating to the job hunt or career advice. Students can obtain answers to their questions anywhere, anytime, using their mobile devices, which is user-friendly and increases their degree of satisfaction.
Furthermore, through students using the chatbot, Career Center staff can improve their support for individual specific tasks like interview practice and correcting job application forms. The chatbot uses the IBM Watson Assistant and operates via IBM Cloud, and analyzes more than 10,000 pieces of data by taking students’ unique short expressions and slang.