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3 practical takeaways from the 2018 Digital AI Summit

Over the past few years, I’ve developed a very strong interest in AI. Unfortunately, despite talking to many industry experts, I’ve always felt a missing link between the IT lab and the real world. However, after attending the 2018 Digital AI Summit – a headlining event at the Victorian Digital Innovation Festival – it was clearer to me how much closer we are to closing that gap.  

Here are 3 key takeaways from the event, along with best-practice that’ll help your organisation become AI-ready.

1.     “Data is king”

This quote was repeated many times throughout the day. It was a little startling as I’m used to hearing ‘content is king’, but if I look at things with an AI lens, I can see why data takes the cake. You need tons of clean (and accurately labelled) data to train your AI system, otherwise, you’re cooking from a recipe with all the wrong ingredients.

“It’s not who has the best algorithm who wins, it’s who has the most data.”

– Andrew Ng, Founder of Google Brain

What you can do today:

  • Clean existing data

  • Collect more data (from internal and external sources)

  • Segment and tag your as much as possible (i.e. into different categories or types)

 

2.     There’s no point having AI if you’re not compelled to act

If you want to make magic happen, big data alone is not enough. You need to connect insight with business process. For example, if you use TripAdvisor, it knows:

  • what city you’re in

  • when you’re probably hungry

  • what cafes and restaurants are top-rated by other travellers

  • when to send you a push notification with recommendations nearby.

Using this as a benchmark, focus your efforts on understanding as much as you can about your customers. Then infuse this data with strategy and systems.

“Marketing comes down to 3 things: right message, right time, right channel. AI can help you bring those 3 things together much faster.”

 – Rob Wickham, Regional VP, Platform & Emerging Technologies, Salesforce Asia Pacific

What you can do today:

  • Review customer personas and journey maps to identify opportunities

  • Audit how various teams (i.e. IT and marketing) are sharking knowledge

  • Implement new ideas to turn big data into magic

3.     Humans will never be able compete with AI capability

As much as it sparks controversial debate, robots will take over some jobs. But this shouldn’t be doom and gloom. Robots never get tired, and robots are more accurate (when given the right information). For example, robots can literally scan thousands of patient X-rays and identify anomalies in seconds. We should embrace what AI can bring to the workplace because just as the assembly line was a game-changer for factories, AI is a game-changer for roles that involve repetitive tasks.

“AI is the only way to address cybersecurity threats at scale.”

– Geoff Swain, Alliances Director for AJP, Crowdstrike

“The area that will be most interesting in health is digital imaging... AI provides a layer of transparency that helps clinicians review and assess cases quickly.”

– Dr Priscilla Rogers, Director, Upstart Innovations 

What you can do today:

  • List mundane tasks or where human error is most likely in your industry

  • Consider how AI can help address these challenges within your organisation

  • Reframe your thinking: how can AI empower me to deliver more value at work?

If you’d like to see what else I learned at the 2018 Digital AI Summit, check out: 5 things copywriters need to know about AI & conversation design.