The Telecom Review Summit 2017 recently concluded in Dubai and was one of the premier ICT gatherings of the year. Industry ICT leaders met under one roof to debate the future of our digital world.
I had the privilege to join a panel on "Artificial Intelligence, the new frontier" with fellow panelists from various sectors including Toda Algorand, M800 Limited, DU, SIGFOX, Detecon, NEC and moderated by Mr. Nasser Al Marzouqi, UAE representative in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to debate:
• Social world transformation, challenges for the labor market
• Autonomous cars and the transportation industry
• Humanity grandest challenges; global health, energy, and resources
I spoke about how Bell Labs Consulting opposes the more dystopian vision of Artificial Intelligence (AI), where humanity is displaced by self-aware robots that rule the world. Instead we favor a more optimistic view on AI, as a great benefit to our species. Nokia Bell Labs argues that we are at the cusp of a new productivity revolution powered by what we call Networked Augmented Intelligence, an era of human and machine collaboration that will result in ‘economic benefits’ and ‘creation of time’, enabling humans to be more human!
The debate also acknowledged AI social and business challenges and established the view that AI must work for the good of many and not the few. On behalf of Bell labs Consulting, I offered views around the emergence of new market models driven by AI platforms for cross sector business innovations. The discussion centered on what the model would include and attributes of business success:
- the future AI driven platform must aim to solve a ubiquitous problem of today
- it uses cloud computing and machine learning
- it uses crowd sourcing (people/things) to learn something and ultimately sells that product in an interesting way
- it rapidly iterates and works for everybody
Taking these principles and linking these attributes to solve for cross sector needs is the new way to incubate and develop revenue generating product ideas.
Besides an interesting and animated exchange between panelists and the audience, the aspect that struck me the most is what we’ve heard Marcus Weldon speak about in the past with respect to Silicon Valley companies vs. Bell Labs. The dialogue between the panelists drove the point home that as Bell Labs’ focus in the true sense is solving human-need problems, we continually think about the future of human needs and invent the technologies that are needed to realize solutions to those needs. In contrast, Silicon Valley companies bring a razor-sharp focus on business model disruption and they use technology to solve business-model problems. The lively exchange offered an opportunity to argue in favor of an inclusive agenda that enables the big transformation ahead of us and does not take for granted the technological and architectural break-throughs that will be needed to enable the future digital world. Perhaps, some combination of Silicon Valley and Bell Labs traits could be a very powerful future formula.