When you trim away the hype around artificial intelligence, you reveal its extraordinary capacity to deliver real-world benefits for businesses. This was the theme of last night's panel discussion, hosted by the Association of Business Technology Professionals (ABTP) in Las Colinas.
Alan Stein, a Vice President at Saxony Partners, moderated the discussion. Yasir Bashir, a Senior Architect at Saxony, was a panelist.
The discussion focused on the practical implications of artificial intelligence – which has suffered at the hands of science fiction writers and hype-makers. Justin Bundick of Southwest Airlines, Richard Haayen of Nestle Skin Health, Robert Kirk of InterGen Data, and Saxony's Yasir Bashir took turns dispelling myths about the science and presenting use cases.
Stein asked each panelist to define AI in their own words, and their responses focused on business value. AI uncovers patterns within data, streamlines work processes, frees time to focus on creativity, and eliminates biases.
Attendees heard how each represented company uses AI to improve customer experience and/or business processes. Southwest Airlines uses data science to get their planes out of the gate and into the air on-time. Nestle partners with vendors to offer deals to customers based on their needs and preferences. InterGen uses population data analysis to help people develop financial plans for future life events.
At Saxony, Yasir and the healthcare team uses AI to address inefficiencies. From eliminating manual processes for small providers, to lowering the incidence of insurance claim denials, Saxony has uncovered many ways that AI delivers value.
One of the benefits of AI is that, by investing in just a few techniques, it delivers lots of value across a variety of industries.
"Do you have a decision to make where you don't have all the information and it's keeping you up at night?" Southwest's Bundick asked. "Then data science might be the answer."
But, as Stein pointed out, less than 25 percent of companies are currently employing artificial intelligence in any significant way.
Panelists addressed ethical concerns around AI, which is a shadow that has followed the science since its earliest iterations. Each panelist agreed that investments in data security and privacy are top-level priorities. InterGen's Robert Kirk said companies should be wary of data they are collecting for positive means. There's a chance it could used in nefarious ways were it to fall into the wrong hands.
ABTP DFW develops ethical business technology leaders at all levels. Its board engages Information Technology leaders, students, and retired IT professionals.
Daniel Baskind, Saxony Partners' Vice President of Sales, is a member of the ABTP DFW board.