Lessons In Artificial Intelligence


Last week, we were honoured to be invited to and attend The AI Summit in San Francisco, the world's largest AI business event.

In the surroundings of San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center, with the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz as part of the landscape out to sea, more than 600 conference delegates, sponsors, and speakers gathered to discuss and learn how:

AI technologies are already being implemented across many business functions, yet often quietly and without (yet) receiving the attention or investment needed;
AI will have a major impact in human productivity – it really is the fourth industrial revolution;
Deep / Machine Learning is king among current AI implementation / investment and Image / Voice Recognition and NLP are at an accelerating pace;
The conversation around ethics and regulation is highly pertinent; more so for an AI-powered business; and
The time to get involved with AI is now; if you haven’t started already, get going and don’t get left behind your competitors!
The summit was notable for the combination of technical and business focused sessions, providing opportunity for both customer facing organisations and technology service providers to share their perspectives on AI.

What is clear is that AI will permeate our future work and social lives. Examples of the application of AI were provided for the retail, healthcare, fashion, consumer goods, and leisure sectors, as well as technology providers steering the delegates through current and planned developments.

What did Fast Future Publishing see in the summit generally and the presentations specifically?
The technical innovation for AI is accelerating and creating new opportunities for businesses to create new value for the customers and clients. And the rate of innovation is increasing.

A number of speakers touched on the implication for business models, and how they might change with the implementation of AI technologies. The suggestion was made that an existing Fortune 500 company drops out of the index on a regular basis, the implication being that newer, maybe AI enabled businesses are growing fast, and their growth is attracting the attention of investors.

Companies – particularly big organisations – with established structures, systems, and culture deploy AI to create the information for people to make informed decisions. But do the people then become the blockers to accelerated decision making that AI is capable of?

Organisational culture was spoken about a number of times; of how AI and the human workforce can be integrated, as well as how AI might support workforce development and interaction between the business and its customers.

And judging by what we heard, “uber” is becoming a verb where the definition is something like, “To take a new approach in a market place and radically change the market dynamics through the deployment of new technology.”

Here are the top ten questions we came away from the summit with:

What is the AI landscape now and in the future?
If stock markets are seeing traditional companies fall out and being replaced by new ones, what will the major markets look like in 10 years?
Are we at the cusp or a radical overhaul of the business landscape with new players taking the place of traditional / legacy companies?
How will AI enabled companies be valued in future, and will AI enabling itself become a critical driver of a company’s valuation?
How will investors consider AI enabled businesses compared to the rest?
Is it possible for a Hilton to “do an Airbnb”?
Could emotional perspectives – loyalty to an established brand, for example – render AI deployment less effective if the technology is prevented from decision making processes and restricted to complex analysis?
How much of a hurdle to change and effective AI deployment is organisational culture?
Which sectors are embracing and deploying AI to great effect to their customers and their business models?
Is AI being used by some companies to defend their existing business model, and not as a creative disrupter to bring radical change to markets?

Rohit Talwar
Fast Future


Rohit Talwar is a UK based global futurist, strategist, innovator and change agent.

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