AI: Smarter Technology, Smarter World

Coffee Break with Game Changers: Startup Focus is live now on the VoiceAmerica Network with this week’s episode: AI: Smarter Technology, Smarter World. Artificial intelligence is used self-driving cars, drones, smartphones, intelligent homes and voice assistants. It is ingrained into every technology we use, whether Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, or others. How do new companies in the AI space imagine and develop breakthrough apps to help enterprises change the world for the better and smarter? Join us for a lively discussion as our panel addresses this new and exciting market.

Host and Panel

Bonnie D. Graham was joined by two experts for our panel:

Surendra Reddy: The founder and CEO of Quantiply Corporation, a cognitive intelligence company. Mr. Reddy was most recently the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) leading cloud and Big Data futures research at Xerox PARC. He founded and launched Big Data Foundry, a data science open innovation platform in collaboration with PARC, CISCO, and Hitachi. Prior to PARC, Mr. Reddy served as the General Manager and CTO for SIOS Technology group companies. He was responsible for defining global cloud and Big Data go-to-market (GTM) strategy while guiding the 200+ engineering organization.

Steve Rietzke: is Director of Business Development for SAP Startup. Focus with responsibility for GTM programs in North America. Steve is a 13-year veteran of SAP and has worked in Business Development, Alliances and Account Management at SAP and for various startup firms and partners.

The Limits of AI

Mr. Reddy started our discussion of AI with a quote from Bertrand Russell, “There will still be things that machines cannot do. They will not produce great art or great literature or great philosophy; they will not be able to discover the secret springs of happiness in the human heart; they will know nothing of love and friendship.” He chose this quote to demonstrate the limits of AI. While AI has the potential to change business and may indeed have ramifications in the future, there will always be a role for creativity, not from machines, but from ourselves.  Mr. Rietzke agreed and added to the discussion with his quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.” Mr. Rietzke pointed out that the world is becoming more connected and ultimately the digital world will be just as connected as the natural world. Leveraging that data will use the application of AI’s to churn through that data.

Companies like Quantiply are using their AI to fight financial crimes, particularly money laundering, which can cost banks millions in fines. Many of the money launders take advantage of the financial sector’s limits in verifying accounts.  They are able to automate processes to find these accounts and sift through their data to bring them into better compliance with regulators with 60-70% accuracy.

Roundtable

Mr. Reddy kicked off the roundtable discussion dispelling the myth that AIs will take over everything and lead to mass unemployment and a dystopian future. He thinks the more realistic future is AI taking over more mundane tasks, “they will guard our homes, monitor our garden, and create new opportunities for us to do better things and coexisting with us.” Mr. Rietzke agreed, pointing out that these systems cannot form relationships. There will still be a role for us, “Throughout history there have been disruptive technologies that have changed the ways we do business” but there will be new companies and industries to take the place of those roles that are changed by the technology. In the end “there will be more productivity and more opportunities because of technologies like AI.”

The next discussion focused on what AI technology does well. Mr. Rietzke sees AI as a way to deliver computer driven insights. They are able to sift through massive amounts of data, far exceeding what humans can do. Mr. Reddy agreed stating that AI and machine learning is very powerful in pattern recognition, and that can be applied to almost any industry. Nonetheless, like any technology in the past, human intervention is important. The AI may understand the pattern, but it is unable to understand the reasons why it is looking for that pattern.

This led to the discussion of what Mr. Reddy calls super-humans, who are empowered by an AI to complete tasks that would be too difficult for a human achieve on their own.  The AI cannot do this without the human element to augment the AI to add the extra scrutiny ensure that what it is recognizing still has value.  Mr. Rietzke sees the potential for AI to improve many industries, retail, manufacturing and, supply chain. For example, cars are beginning to drive themselves. There are companies using the Internet of Things (IoT) to listen to how a machine is performing and dispatching a technician to do preventive maintenance based on that data. Mr. Reddy also sees AI helping in the future with information overload and performing more tasks like sorting through your email.  He also pointed out that the users of the system have to trust the AI and verify that it is looking for the right things. That can only be done when the human and machine element coexist and form a symbiotic-like relationship. Or as Mr. Rietzke put it, “we have to trust input in order to trust the output.”

Crystal Ball Predictions

Mr. Reddy predicts that the AI will become a part of every business. His vision for Quantiply is to eradicate financial crimes with their AI.

Mr.  Rietzke predicts that much of the improvements that we currently have will improve, get faster and more powerful at an exponential rate. The applications of AI are only now scratching the surface of what can be done.