Under normal circumstances, employees tend to approach upskilling with various degrees of enthusiasm – often defined by the interest of the person and his or her pre-disposition towards trying something new.
Three years ago this August, DBS Bank announced a budget of SGD20 million to transform employees into a digital workforce.
Back then, it said the goal is to upskill 10,000 Singapore-based employees in digital banking and emerging technologies, “enabling them to thrive in the digital economy and adapt to the future of work.”
Fast forward to August 2020, DBS Bank announced it is introducing gamification into its artificial intelligence (AI) elearning programme using the AWS DeepRacer.
Developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS), DeepRacer is an integrated learning system for users of all levels to learn and explore reinforcement learning and to experiment and build autonomous driving applications.
According to DBS, it is collaborating with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to “develop a critical mass of employees equipped with fundamental skills in AI and Machine Learning (ML) by the end of the year.”
DBS gamifies AI-ML upskilling
DBS says 3,000 employees will learn the basics of AI and ML by participating in a series of hands-on online tutorials before putting their new knowledge to the test by programming their own autonomous model race car (AWS DeepRacer).
These ML models are then uploaded onto a virtual racing environment where employees can experiment and iteratively finetune their models as they engage each other in friendly competition.
Calling itself a technology company that provides banking services (reminiscent of JPMorgan Chase’s own stated claims to the position), Paul Cobban, chief data and transformation officer at DBS, said the bank needs to stay ahead of the technology curve to continue exceeding our customers’ expectations.
DBS' over-arching skulls strategy
In what may well be a reflection of the changing attitude towards technology, Cobban said it intends to democratise technology skillsets among all employees so that they can run alongside the company as we advance on our digital transformation together.
“In line with our ethos of keeping work and learning fun, we sought to introduce gamification elements to better engage our employees, and the AWS DeepRacer League platform presented the perfect opportunity,” he continued.
Completely delivered online from classroom to racetrack, one of the goals is to ingrain digital learning behaviours among employees.
This comes on the back of DBS’ effort to scale up its digital learning tools and platforms to enable its employees to upgrade their skills and pick up new knowledge even when they are not physically in the office.
AWS DeepRacer League is a just as much a game as it is a learning opportunity. One of the early participants to the programme, Ray Goh, executive director of Technology & Operations at DBS, beat out Renault F1 Team driver Daniel Ricciardo, to emerge as a global champion in the recent virtual AWS DeepRacer League F1 ProAm Event run in May 2020.
A total of six employees have qualified for the AWS DeepRacer Championship Cup to be held in Las Vegas at the close of the year.