Yesterday was our annual IT innovation event, Transform – this year dedicated entirely to the practicalities of AI. It was attended by business owners and senior IT representatives from business across Jersey and Guernsey, keen to understand more about AI’s capability and to better understand the specifics of how AI can be put to work in their businesses.
Our decision to focus on AI for this year’s Transform was a natural one. We seek to serve businesses throughout their entire data lifecycle – the privacy-respectful collection of data, its secure storage and ongoing maintenance, and of course its monetization. AI is any business’ most powerful – and yet also least understood – route to deriving profit from its data, making it an ideal topic for a day of educational presentations and demonstrations.
Transform brought together the most qualified line-up of AI thought leaders and practitioners ever seen on the Channel Islands. But importantly, they were not just technologists. The speakers were equally split across the worlds of academia, business and technology, reflecting our audience’s need to not only better understand the technicalities of AI’s deployment, but to also cut through the misplaced fears of AI’s dangers; see firsthand its usefulness and application; and begin to envisage how it could be used in their own organizations.
Professor Stephen Roberts, Fellow of Oxford University’s Machine Learning Group and one of the most experienced innovators in AI for business, opened Transform with a keynote on “AI: Hype, Hope or Happening”. This session set the tone for the rest of the day, showing the audience how much is possible with AI, how proven the technology is, and what myths were still misleading the market.
But AI is more than a technology. Its use can be powerful and transformative, but also sensitive. This is why we asked Craig Parfitt, an independent expert in AI ethics, to deliver our second keynote on how the use of AI needs to be balanced with the protection of the audiences’ rights, freedoms and legitimate expectations. Ethics is a key pillar of any of Calligo’s data services, not just in terms of determining the relevant privacy legislation, but also in ensuring data subjects are treated appropriately in how their personal data may be manipulated and processed.
Other sessions included a very well-received presentation by Intel’s CTO, Iain Beckingham, who led the audience through the many applications of AI across verticals as diverse as transport, farming and healthcare. These real-life use cases gave the audience confidence in AI’s flexibility, value and readiness.
That same message of AI being ready and deployable today was repeated by Ajay Dholakia, Lenovo’s Chief Architect for Big Data & AI Solutions, in his session on how to design an IT infrastructure to accommodate AI – a presentation that was born out of current recent experience.
Transform also included presentations from Calligo. Julian Box, our CEO, took the audience through the critical strategic, technical, ethical and organizational considerations that must be addressed when initially planning an AI project and the vital dos and don’ts for success. Additionally, Adam Ryan, our COO, demoed our AI Maturity Model, showing the specifics of how a company can measure its readiness to deploy AI, identify shortcomings and remedy them before they become project-derailing obstacles.
Across both of these sessions, it was interesting to hear the attendees’ responses and feedback, which showed a new appreciation of the areas of governance, architecture and organizational requirements that will define an AI project’s success, even before a single line of code is written.
The overall takeaway from Transform 2018 was that the case for AI has already been made – the large and diverse audience showed that few businesses consider AI to be beyond their needs or capabilities. The question now is how:
- How do I identify where AI is going to make the most impact to my business?
- How do I prepare each of my departments and teams for AI’s introduction?
- How do I make sure my AI project is a strategic, commercial and profitable success?
These questions and others are answered in our free guide to preparing your business for AI, launched at Transform 2018: Finding the right use for AI in your business. To find out more and to download, click here.
Many thanks to our sponsors at Transform 2018