Unleashing human potential

After a well-deserved lunch, Day 1 of the AI/Digital Summit continued with the afternoon session, dedicated to “Unleashing Human Potential”. It was opened by Master of Ceremonies Marc Sniukas, Director- Strategy Regulatory & Corporate Finance, Deloitte who got straight to the point in welcoming the first speaker, Marcus Willand, Associate Partner MHP to talk about “AI in Mobility”.

AI in Mobility

Marcus Willand represents Porsche, so comes from the perspective of a motor industry manufacturer, and told the audience that he wanted to talk about challenges in mobility in the future. He broke down the analysis into four sections, starting with what is happening in the market.

He said that there are a lot of new players coming in. for example Uber, and huge levels of investment in the autonomous driving market. He cited Google’s Waymo operation, and its Chinese equivalent Baidu Appollo and made the startling revelation that in the future, the profits in the mobility market will come not from vehicle sales, but from the vehicles’ digital platforms. When you take a ride in an autonomous car you have time to consume digital services, and the technology driving these platforms is the AI from the autonomous car. This puts a lot of pressure on traditional car manufacturers and demonstrates the importance of controlling the added value chain for mobility, and the mobility eco-system (insurance, cities, startups, OEMs)

Second is the vehicle itself … so much data is now being generated from our journeys that AI is being used to reduce the useful data directly related to the driving from all of the rest of the data. Following that Mr. Willand talked about the mobility infrastructure, traffic flow and the use of AI to model how a city lives and breathes, for example an app to show how the traffic will evolve over the next hour. Additionally, AI tools can help to anticipate electricity consumption and even allow electric car drivers the opportunity to sell energy back into the grid.

Finally, there is the customer herself. Research done in Stuttgart on digital ways to access mobility without a car discovered over 40 alternatives, which is very inefficient, so now a proposed bundled package will allow customers to buy virtual transport “tokens” either by subscription or ad hoc to be used in any form of transport from bus and taxi to car hire, and also to locate and pay for parking spaces in the city.

Mr Willand closed by stating that if companies want to take advantage of these new opportunities, they have to change their mindsets.


Intelligence enabled banking

Benjamin Schultz, from Deloitte, spoke on the challenges that the traditional banking industry has to maintain profits in an increasingly diverse and client-centric market where information, data and data management will be key paradigms for banking in the future. He maintained that embedding these paradigms in the core of the banking business model can have a great impact on profit.

In the banking paradigm shift that is increasingly being pushed by alternative on-line financial solutions the traditional revenue stream is at best stagnating, but in reality is shrinking. With the increasing shift towards these other financial solutions such as open banking, the cost income ration of > 60% does not compare favourably with the significantly less than 50% enjoyed by digital platforms, and higher efficiency levels are required.

The move therefore is towards more automated decision support. As an example, Mr. Schultz informed the audience that a typical KYC (Know Your Client) analyst can handle about 25 reports per day, whereas an AI based KYC automated process can handle 25 thousand per minute. He does not however expect bank employees to be replaced by AI solutions, rather that there will be a change of emphasis towards employees being used more for their decision making skills.


Our Future with AI

Calum Chace, a best-selling author and sought after speaker on AI spoke to the audience about his vision of our future with AI. He made reference to the often quoted “fact” that our mobile phone carries more computing power than NASA had available to send a man to the moon, and pointed out that this fact is massively out of date. He claims that today, a good quality toaster has more computing power than NASA had available in 1969, and applauded the bravery of men who were willing to risk their lives supported by something as intelligent as a toaster.

He also subscribes to the theory that Moore’s law of exponential growth in computational power is not yet exhausted, and anticipates that in the very near future we will be able to have an intelligent conversation with Siri, and that autonomous cars will be here soon as well. He anticipates a significant change in the job market as many skills become redundant, such as truck driving. There are over five million truck drivers in the USA alone, and once autonomous trucks become the norm, that number will be slashed. Additionally, the escape route to a call centre job will also be increasingly difficult to take, as more and more of the tasks there are handed over to AI based systems and bots.

Mr Chace believes that, assuming Moore’s law continues to apply and that in 30 years computers will be one million times more powerful than they are today, then there is no reason why such jobs would not be replaced by AI solutions.

He observed that not having a job does not necessarily undermine the feeling of self-worth of a person, and cites the well off retiree, and the landed gentry, as two examples of a class of citizens who are extremely happy not to be working, which leads him to the conclusion that we need to make everyone rich to avoid the existential despair of having their jobs taken away by machines.


The Challenges and Opportunities of the EU in a Global Digital Economy

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl is Director general of the largest tech representative body in the world, with over 35 thousand affiliated organizations, and she describes DIGITAL EUROPE’s goal as being to foster a business policy and regulatory structure on behalf of its members through building a stronger Digital Europe where scale is vital – if Brexit finally happens only 5% of the world’s Unicorns will be in Europe – and the areas that Europe needs to concentrate on would include cyber security, privacy, AI and digital sustainability rules, along with work on inclusion, green growth, innovation, trust, leadership and an agile missions based policy.

She particularly feels that governments are not awake enough, and are not reacting quickly enough, to the rapid changes in the skills required by the workforce of tomorrow, and observed that we can fly to the moon but we cannot reprogramme our curricula to train our kids appropriately. As an example 52% of our workforce will need to do some retraining in the next 5 years.

Ms. Bonefeld-Dahl asked how will it feel to be a human being in 2040? She feels that we cannot roll back progress, that we cannot say “we want to remain human, you go digital” … it’s too late … Europe will lag behind the USA and Asia unless we leverage the power of the Digital Single Market. She believes that Europe needs to move faster, otherwise it will be too late, and that business must drive it as governments are too slow to react.


A Round Table on the topic "Unlocking Human Potential" brought together Calum Chace, Dr. Jakob Mainert (Cognitive Scientist, author about Human Intelligence) and Marc Sniukas. Dr. Mainert was interested in talking about 21st Century skills. He sees that intelligence breaks down into three steps … perceive, interpret, act and believes that machines are getting closer and closer to achieving these skills, but only in stable environments. In more dynamic environments we need to unleash human potential and he has a methodology for distinguishing which tasks are better done by humans, and which by machines

Calum Chace continued his slightly dystopian view of the future by stating his opinion that while in the next 5-10 years there will be greater churn in the job market with bits of jobs disappearing, in 30 years, humans may well be unemployable.

Marc Sniukas asked Messrs, Chace and Mainert what they are most looking forward to in the future. For Dr. Mainert it is a release of energy and time, and for Calum Chace, it is autonomous transport


AI Landscape in Luxembourg – Dr. Emilia Tantar – Head of AI & Big Data BIL

After a short break, Dr. Emilia Tantar (Head of AI & Big Data, BIL) took the stage to talk about the AI landscape in Luxembourg. Dr. Tantar is a researcher and since 2017 has been a member of the European AI Alliance. She analysed how AI is affecting the financial services sector and talked about leaner faster operations, tailored products and advice, ubiquitous presence, smarter decision making and new value propositions.

In referring to AI startups in Luxembourg she referred the audience to the websites of LuxInnovation’s Fit4Start programme and Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT) and also spoke about the CSSF as Luxembourg’s AI data regulator.

Who’s going to make money in AI?

Simon Greenman (Co-founder and partner, Best Practice AI) started by asking the audience if they were ready for another AI goldrush, and went on to observe that in the California gold rush of the 19th century, the real money makers were the equipment and clothing suppliers. Drawing a comparison with the AI gold rush, he went on to say that soon every inhabitant of planet earth will be generating approximately 1.7 megabytes of data per second, that Google AI software is now all free through TensorFlow and posed the question … so who is going to extract economic value from it?

The estimate is that by 2025 the chip manufacturing market will be worth $59 billion, AI and cognitive services $77 billion, enterprise AI solutions (IBM, SAP etc) will be worth tens of billions, and according to Gartner, by 2022, AI derived business value will top $3.9 trillion across all sectors. There is also a race at country level, with Taiwanese venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee having described China as “The Saudi Arabia of data”.


A new Breakthrough, Ensemble AI and its Applications

Tony Lee (CEO and President Saltlux Korea) opened by asking what is the difference between human and artificial intelligence? He cited the example that for small data, for example highly accurate face recognition, a human needs about twenty pictures, and that an AI system needs about 100,000. He went on to discuss embodied cognition, neuroplasticity, collective intelligence and the DARPA “explainable AI” model of deep explanations, interpretable models and model induction. The overall conclusion was that hybridizing the knowledge models would more or less double the accuracy.

Mr. Lee closed by reminding the audience of Albert Einstein’s famous remark that “The computer is incredibly fast, accurate and stupid. Man is incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant. The marriage of the two is a force beyond calculation”.


Responding to Fake News – AI, Media and the Post-Truth era

Katrina Fok (Marketing Managers Spectee Inc Japan) opened with an anecdote about how she had been watching the David Attenborough documentary series “Our Planet” and thought that such incredible footage could not all be real. She researched it and found conflicting answers from different sources. She then posed the question “How much time are we all going to spend checking whether all information is real or not?”

Ms. Fok then spoke about how Spectee was founded in 2011 after many rumours in the wake of Fukushima, particularly fake news about foreign looters which greatly hindered the rescue effort to the extent that additional lives were lost because of it. She summed up the organization in the formula Social Media minus Noise = Spectee.

Their platform uses AI based solutions for frame by frame image analysis, continuity analysis, text analysis and sentiment judgement, image sharpening, posting patterns, image cross checking against data archives to verify the truthfulness of a story, and they are in partnership with Associated Press and more than 90% of the Japanese news market.


AI as a commodity for your new generation applications? Start today! by Thomas Friederich General Manager Earthlab Luxembourg

Thomas Friederich’s quick fire French language presentation referred to AI as the fourth industrial revolution after steam, electricity and automation, and claimed that all sectors are affected, including farming, health, transport, and that the widening of AI is facilitated by exponential growth in data storage capabilities, processor speed and cheaper prototyping across all markets.


David Hogan (Enterprise Senior Director for EMEA, NVIDIA) moderated a Round Table on AI Policies which featured Marc SniukasCecilia Bonefeld-DahlGail Kent (Director Data, European Commission – DG CONNECT Luxembourg), Steven Dewaele(Director EU Policy and strategy Huawei) and Jean Diederich(Partner, Wavestone). Marc Sniukas opened by asking “How do we prevent robots and AI from killing us?”

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl felt that regulation was the key, and saw AI as being a positive thing, stating that it is not so much that there is a risk of “bias” in AI, it is more the other way round … AI can avoid bias and is a great tool for risk analysis.

Gail Kent was then asked what she is doing to improve access to data. She said that this is very important for the Luxembourgish Government as it makes for a high profile for Luxembourg DGs. She spoke about how the Open Data Directive will enter into force in June and referred to the need for a fairer data market, higher supply of data and that the Digital Single Market is imperative. She mentioned that the international aspect is also very important, with Japan, Canada and Singapore among others all approaching the commission about using the same standards.

Jean Diederich believes that there is a mix of contradictory policies leading to policy chaos, for example GDPR v the typical data fortress mentality of the banks.

David Hogan said that Luxembourg is doing a fantastic job with AI Lab, and the sector needs government leadership as industry can be very secretive, although it doesn’t have to be policy driven.

Marc Sniukas remarked that while Europe is spending 30 billion dollars on AI, China is spending 300 billion dollars and asked how do we recover that lost ground?

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl suggested that it is not even worthwhile to try, the Chinese are already too far away, but that Europe needs to improve and stop having 28 separate markets.


John Chalmers

Photos: Marion Dessard

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