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VinBrainers/Experts February 13, 2024

The AI Coach Profession

Behind the success of artificial intelligence products developed by VNG and VinBrain, alongside modern machines, there are also the presence of “AI coaches”.
Author: The Leader E Magzine

AI Needs Coaches 

Compared to the world, Vietnam currently ranks 59/193 countries/territories (in 2022 this number will be 55/181), according to the Report "Government AI Readiness Index" conducted by Oxford Insights (UK).

This is the third year Vietnam has surpassed the world average. In the region, Vietnam's global artificial intelligence (AI) readiness index ranked 5/10 in ASEAN, up one level compared to the previous year.

Many experts believe that AI can even create a new "economy" in Vietnam, and change most industries and occupations.

Of course, for these AIs to be perfected and effectively applied in practice, behind it is a difficult "AI training" process, which consumes many resources, including: time, money as well as a team of experts at businesses.

"Artificial intelligence is a field full of challenges and potential. To create quality AI products, not only need creative ideas but also an effective AI training process," Mr. Vu Thanh Tung - head of product, AI Cloud of VNG Digital Business shared.

According to Mr. Tung, AI training is the process of optimizing the parameters of the AI model based on input data. At VNG Digital Business, this step is performed by the AI Lab team - a team of AI experts with extensive experience and capacity.

The AI Lab team will use rich Vietnamese data sources collected and processed by VNG Digital Business itself, along with a large and modern AI Cloud system to train AI models for VNG Digital Business products.

This training process has a harmonious combination of machines and people at VNG Digital Business. Machines take care of calculating and learning, humans take care of monitoring, adjusting and evaluating results.

Similarly, at VinBrain, artificial intelligence technology that supports medical imaging and cancer treatment at hospitals also originates from AI training.

The data, after cleaning and labeling, will be fed into machine training based on the deep learning model, along with being continuously appraised and evaluated until completion.

Steven Truong - founder and CEO of VinBrain said that usually the time to train an artificial intelligence to serve a specific purpose takes at least about a week for simple problems.

"With complex problems such as in the medical field, the time can last up to years. Model training and updates are conducted continuously to improve AI quality over time," Steven said.

AI Coaches in Practice

Up to now, VinBrain's AI has been applied in more than 100 hospitals in Vietnam, including over 175 hospitals worldwide.

VinBrain's DrAid™ solution has demonstrated outstanding performance by reducing the time to read images of cases such as liver cancer from 30 minutes per case to only 5 minutes per case, and most importantly, it helps doctors detect the disease is in its early stages, with the ability to detect liver lesions that are only 5mm in size.

From there, this technology helps oncologists plan treatment and screen for liver cancer, with the ability to provide accurate results up to 90%, while increasing the rate of curative treatment.

To achieve these achievements, VinBrain has more than 80 people, mainly highly qualified technology engineers.

According to CEO Steven Truong, to participate in AI development, personnel need to have advanced degrees, usually masters, doctorates, or at least excellent engineers from leading schools in the field of: Computer Science, Mathematics, Data Science, or Information Technology.

At VNG Digital Business, the artificial intelligence team has about 30 employees, mostly with master's, doctorate or bachelor's degrees with excellent grades.

"These personnel have diverse work experience in the field of AI, such as natural language processing, computer vision, machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement learning, and synchronous learning," Mr. Vu Thanh Tung shared.

Citing the artificial intelligence achievements researched, trained and developed by the VNG Digital Business team, Mr. Tung said, VNG's trueID eKYC electronic identification solution has helped Dragon Capital fund management company increase its revenue. Growing the number of users 10 times in just 1 year.

Or like Veka.ai is a centralized camera management solution for many retail chains, banks, manufacturing plants, schools, and smart urban areas today.

For this product, VNG Digital Business applies AI to problems such as detecting motion, recognizing faces as well as all human objects, detecting intrusion into restricted areas, or recognizing license plates.

The Qualification of an AI Coach

Becoming a true "AI coach" is not simple. Mr. Vu Thanh Tung revealed that the majority of engineers at VNG Digital Business are trained from leading schools in the US and Europe such as: University College Dublin, University of California San Diego, Oregon State University, etc.

In particular, senior personnel all have "real combat" experience at international technology companies and are applying in-depth AI knowledge to create AI products and features that are friendly to Vietnamese users.

At VinBrain, "AI coaches" are also mainly graduated from famous universities or research organizations in the world with majors in artificial intelligence.

"In Vietnam, we can mention Hanoi Polytechnic University and Hanoi National University of Technology," VinBrain CEO said.

However, recruitment and postgraduate training for domestic AI engineers is not easy. Not to mention, according to a recent study, the supply of AI human resources in Vietnam is at a very low level, only meeting 10% of recruitment needs.

Data from the World Intellectual Property Organization (a specialized agency of the United Nations) shows that there are currently just over 1,600 Vietnamese people researching and working in fields related to AI. Of these, only about 700 people are doing this job in Vietnam, the rest are working in other countries.

In fact, each year Vietnam has about 55,000 information technology students graduating, but only 30% of them can do AI-related jobs.

And to truly meet the expert level in AI, the intensive learning and training process must be even longer. The number of people who graduate and can work is always very rare.

"A person can become an AI programmer with basic abilities after a few months of study, but to become a top expert, it can take several years, or even more time," the head of VinBrain emphasized.

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