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Downloadable Summary Now Available for Artificial Intelligence Event held June 19, 2017

Posted By Cindy Rosenthal, Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Updated: Friday, August 18, 2017

CBSACNY Panel Tackles the Coming Explosion

of Artificial Intelligence in Business


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) has the potential to be a paradigm shift, broadly disrupting business in the next few years as much as the Internet did in the early 2000s and mobile communications has since 2010. That was the key takeaway message from a panel of experts at our “Artificial Intelligence in Business” program, held on June 19, 2017.  

Panelists:  Norman Niemer (UBS O’Connor); Bethany Hale (IBM/Watson Health)
Christian Jong (Opentopic);  Sebastian Wilner (Google);  Chandler Wilson (Walmart)

This fantastic and tightly focused program featured AI advocate-experts from top corporations working in the field, and a sell-out crowd, thanks to the organizational skills of CBSACNY’s Media and High-Tech Committee, chaired by Bonnie Halpern and Brad Jobling, both CBS graduates. Describing AI loosely as the ability of computers to “contextualize things and provide more actionable information”, moderator Norman Niemer, a graduate of Columbia’s School of Engineering with a master’s degree in Financial Engineering, led a broad and illuminating conversation that highlighted AI’s tremendous importance to different sectors of business, as well as outlining specific applications and challenges to implementation.

“We are transitioning, from a business perspective, from a mobile-first world of product design to one that is AI-first,” said Niemer, who leads a quantitative data science team at UBS O’Connor, the hedge fund unit of UBS. In his leadership of AI innovation initiatives at UBS, Niemer has observed that the key to corporate success in such a ‘smart’ environment is having a data strategy-- that is, plans for collecting, storing, cleaning and analyzing enormous reams of data. AI uses big data and machine learning (ML) as essential tools, but goes further as “the glue that holds those together and gets actionable results out of all that data,” he said. ML, in contrast, is a subset of AI, in which computers use algorithms to harness data sets and learn from them.

Panelists defined AI as machine intelligence that analyzes unfathomably huge amounts of data to identify patterns and predict outcomes, making continual adjustments based on the input of new data according to rules created by the system itself, based on the input of new data. Bethany Hale, a CBS graduate who is Chief of Staff for the Global Healthcare and Life Sciences industry team at IBM, which includes Watson Health, the company’s most high-profile AI initiative, explained that a cognitive computer can process both structured and unstructured data, derive meaning from the data it is analyzing, and learns iteratively from feedback. That is what drives its ability to “think”.

AI can improve operating efficiency and provide new understanding of customer insights, which are central to success in sales, panelists said. Moreover, its adoption into strategic decision making is becoming a critical competitive advantage in business, as traditional market analysis is no longer a differentiator and as many “soft” functions such as IR, communications and strategic planning, can be quantified and thus incorporated into an AI-driven operating environment.  (more...)

For the full summary, see the attached downloadable document.

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Tags:  Artificial Intelligence 

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