Winning with AI: Industry POV on how to change the game, part 1

Influencer Marketing Manager, IBM

Will artificial intelligence remake business as we know it? Will AI change the way we do our jobs or reshape entire categories of careers? How can businesses harness the transformative potential of AI and outplay the competition?

Leaders from a broad range of industries and expertise will be discussing these questions at “Change the Game: Winning with AI,” a 13 September, 2018 event taking place live in New York City and broadcast live online. Rob Thomas, IBM vice president of analytics, will be joined by host ESPN anchor Hannah Storm to explore the transformative potential of AI and the importance of a multicloud.

Ahead of the event, we asked a virtual roundtable of analytics experts and analysts to wrestle with some of the core issues surrounding AI. Participants included:

  • Carla Gentry, @data_nerd: Carla acts as a liaison between the IT department and executive staff to take huge, complicated databases, decipher business needs and come back with intelligence.
  • Kevin Jackson, @Kevin_Jackson: Kevin is a globally recognized cloud computing expert, thought leader, industry influencer and founder/author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.
  • Tony Flath, @TmanSpeaks: Tony is a tech and media consultant whose aim is to help organizations keep their information protected, better make use of cloud computing and more effectively use various technologies and social media. 
  • Steve Ardire, @sardire: Steve advises numerous AI startups on topics including business strategy, funding, go-to-market, and customer and partner engagement.
  • Theodora Lau, @psb_dc: Theo is an innovator, technologist and connector whose work seeks to spark innovation to improve consumer financial wellbeing and health. 
  • Chris Penn, @cspenn: Chris is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. He is a recognized thought leader, author and speaker, and has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry including data-driven marketing, and PR and email marketing.
  • Bob Hayes, @bobehayes: Bob uses data and analytics to help make decisions that are based on fact, not hyperbole. His interests are at the intersection of customer experience, data science and machine learning.

How will the potential of AI change the future of business?

  • Bob Hayes:  As more business processes become digitized, the more data companies will have available to them. This growth of data will allow companies to leverage the power of machine learning, a component of AI, to automate processes or augment employees' capabilities. 
  • Carla Gentry: We need to stop being reactive and become proactive. It means being able to assist customers without tying up personnel, aka automation, in the form of replying to customer requests on websites, mobile apps, consumer messaging apps and social networks. This will give companies a chance to really serve the customer instead of spending time digging through data via surveys or questionnaires.

Data and analytics needs to be thought of as a vital layer of the digital business fabric. Automating the step-by-step drudgery of initial contact and questions will ensure a successful transaction or business venture and happy customers.

  • Tony Flath: The way the data is structured, organized and accessible has changed considerably and will continue to do so. This will lead to further enablement of mass big data, machine learning and true deep learning, contributing to rich AI capabilities and true machine automation.  
  • Steve Ardire: Machines can attend to vastly more information and more complex processes than human beings. Data is new oil, and AI is the refinery for the who, what, where, when and how, but not quite yet for why. AI combines prediction with causal inference to address problems that look beyond correlation into root causes and to address behavioral understanding and perceptions.

Augmented intelligence, where machines and humans work together, will deliver the “why” with unprecedented level of insight, relevance and speed. It will become pervasive for the future of work as the competitive imperative that places greater emphasis on soft skills such as critical thinking, cognitive flexibility, emotional intelligence, imagination and creativity.

What data technologies do you anticipate playing a greater or lesser role as businesses develop winning AI strategies in 2019? 

  • Tony Flath: In order to best address the “four Vs” of big data – volume, velocity, variety, and veracity – I see capabilities like this year's partnership announcement between IBM and Red Hat playing a big role in capturing meaningful data, across on-premises, private cloud and public cloud.  Better overall management of big data with cloud, containers and Kubernetes will further enable machine learning and AI capabilities.  
  • Carla Gentry: I see a lot of wannabes dropping out of the mix as soon as everyone figures out they really don’t have a clue what AI is. You have those that hop on the buzz, but as time progresses, the machines will need valid training sets and unbiased models. Your engineers will need the ability to do their jobs, not what IT thinks. Let the experts be experts. I see real, logical discussion about AI coming and less buzz.

Click here for part two of our expert roundtable discussion around winning with AI.

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