This October my colleague and I had the opportunity to attend the world’s leading AI Congress in London with Pathfinder. This was a two day event with 23 key note speakers representing industry leaders in this space. This event was of particular relevance to us as we are currently working in the Digital Transformation space and are members of Pathfinder’s Transformation and Change practice. Over these two days, the key note speakers touched on IoT applications, AI Solutions, Artificial Intelligence and IoT companies for all industries from automotive to retail and point of sales.
Here are the top three trends and takeaways from the event:
- 1. The importance of ethics in AI
There was a sense of excitement around the reality that AI is already changing the way we do business along with the many opportunities AI could bring in the future. However, concerns surrounding the role of ethics in AI was raised on many occasions by the speakers. Initially, I had understood this ethical concern to be around the sharing and manipulation of personal data.
As the speakers continued to delve deeper into the subject of ethics in AI, I began to realise that ethics in AI was a major concern of the key note speakers. For instance, one particular speaker raised the point as to whether conventional ethics were infused within the organisations developing AI and whether this was considered when recruiting a workforce to evolve and program AI. Another notable concern was around the use of virtual assistants (e.g. Alexa) which are now commonly used in place of human interaction in modern society.
As AI technology continues to develop it will inevitably raise ethical issues within organisations and broader society that will need to be addressed.
- 2. How Digital Transformation and AI are helping traditional organisations battle the innovation challenge
An interesting statistic that emerged was that 50% of Fortune 500 companies listed in 2000 have gone bankrupt, been acquired or ceased to exist due to Digital Transformation. In direct contrast to this, many companies now featured in the Fortune 500 list are market leaders in the field of AI, innovation and machine learning. These include Amazon, eBay, and Apple.
This contrast highlights the necessity for companies to invest and embrace Digital Transformation, AI, machine learning and innovation within their organisations. In addition, it further highlights that an organisation can become redundant if they do not embrace technological change. It will be interesting to see what organisations will fall off the Fortune 500 list over the next 10 years for failing to embrace technological change.
- 3. AI and its future social impact
Through different discussions and presentations, it became obvious that the use of AI is expanding in different sectors and integrating itself in different social groups. One question up for debate was around whether ethical assistants were a beneficial method of solving loneliness amongst elderly persons. Another interesting issue raised was the substitution of AI/technology replacing traditional methods of education and the impact technology is having on the behaviour of children. For example, one of the speakers referenced a study which concluded that children behave differently when interacting with AI as opposed to interacting with a person.
Although there are many positive factors from the introduction of new technology, the question remains around its impact on modern society and traditional human interaction.
In conclusion, the event was very informative as it was a great opportunity for industry professionals to demonstrate their knowledge in the field and educate others. It was also an opportunity for us to network, integrate with and learn from like-minded professionals and key note speakers. Ultimately, I took away some fascinating insights from the event.