AI-Powered Companies Combine Machine Intelligence And Human Ingenuity

08/04/2017 12:16 pm ET

Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms. Mathematics is about understanding. — William Paul Thurston

According to the World Economic Forum, the age of AI and smart machines will create three types of jobs in the future of work: 1. those that will disappear (replaced by automation and machines), 2. those that are in collaboration with machines and algorithms, and 3. those jobs that are completely new or remain largely untouched. The new jobs created by AI will require a combination of technology and liberal arts skills in order to optimize business outcomes. According to IDC research, AI powered CRM will create $1.1 trillion dollars of incremental revenue and more than 2 million net new jobs.

To learn more about the future of work and the impact of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science business strategies, Ray Wang and I invited one of the foremost authorities and expert on application of machine intelligence, organizational leadership and strategy to our weekly show DisrupTV.

<a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Angela Zutavern</a>, Vice Pres

Angela Zutavern is Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton and Board of Directors ICE Foundation. Zutavern has pioneered the application of machine intelligence to organizational leadership and strategy. She is an inventor of the machine intelligence and data science strategies that are now helping business and government organizations make better decisions and gain competitive advantages. Zutavern led Booz Allen’s most advanced data science research and development efforts, including the areas of deep learning and quantum machine learning. She has worked with clients in every major U.S. government cabinet-level department as well as in sub-level agencies. In addition, Angela advised many Fortune 500 companies and led teams across every major industry.

A frequent industry, academic, and media speaker on the power of data science, Angela convenes the Chief Data Officer (CDO) Council for the U.S. federal government community. In addition, she is actively involved in strengthening diversity and inclusion, especially in technology, and is an enthusiastic champion of women in data science. Angela also serves on the board of directors of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports ICE employees in their homeland security and public safety missions. 

Zutavern co-authored the 2017 book The Mathematical Corporation, which explores how organizations and their leaders can beat the competition by coupling human ingenuity with the mathematical power of machine intelligence. Zutavern shows business leaders how to compete in this new era: by combining the mathematical smarts of machines with the intellect of visionary leaders.

“What is a mathematical corporation? Machines are now learning to perceive and understand the world like humans do, in order to make their own decisions. As a result, the workforce of the future will be divided between creative people doing high-level cognitive tasks and intelligent machines that can do high-level work to complement human efforts. Corporations will have to rethink not only their employment models and the very nature of how work is done, but also how they lead, create competitive advantage, and evolve over time. The mathematical corporation is an organization that understands that, and is on a journey to operate and succeed in that world.” — Josh Sullivan and Angela Zutavern
 A Trillion Reasons Why Companies are Turning to AI
A Trillion Reasons Why Companies are Turning to AI

“Multiplying our potential capabilities by showing us how to merge human intelligence and machine intelligence, The Mathematical Corporation reveals how leaders can score strategic triumphs and fulfill missions that once seemed out-of-reach or even impossible to attain,” said Zutavern. Here are some use cases from the book:

  • An entrepreneur upending preventive healthcare by getting people to volunteer real-time data on their sense of health and well-being
  • An oceanographer using machine intelligence to adapt fisheries management to climate change
  • A drug maker boosting vaccine yields with algorithm-driven manufacturing optimization
  • A hotel chain rewarding individual customers with custom-designed hotel weekend deals
  • A retail-analytics startup revolutionizing shopping through millions of customer smartphones

Several companies were referenced as mathematical corporations, including Tesla. “Tesla’s vehicles include software that aids customers’ limited self-driving. Another set of software, with no effect on the car, records all driver behavior so Tesla can accumulate the data to build future full-service self-driving capability. Whereas it took Google six years to gather a million miles of actual self-driving car data, Tesla’s 70,000 cars produce a million miles of driver data every ten hours. Who will succeed first in using the data for the next breakthrough?”

Here are 7 top takeaways from THE MATHEMATICAL CORPORATION - According to the authors: “If the past was about analytics and big data, the future is about the big mind of the mathematical corporation. Big mind comes from combining the mathematical smarts of machines with your own imaginative human intellect.” It requires the following shifts in thinking:

  1. Consider complexity a boon, not a burden
  2. Acknowledge that the machine works better than the gut
  3. Accept that machine models top mental models
  4. Don’t expect solutions to require logic
  5. Create value by giving it away
  6. Look outside your industry to create algorithms
  7. Prioritize imperfection and experimentation
The problems that the mathematical corporation can solve range from day-to-day operational functions that everyone performs all the way to curing cancer, living on Mars, solving world hunger, and stopping human trafficking. Merging human and machine intelligence can also help us make decisions on where to invest, and where to spend resources. We’re making those decisions today, but we’re doing it primarily by instinct and gut feeling. In the future, we’ll all be making decisions using machine intelligence, rather going on instinct. — Zutavern

Here are the key takeaways from our conversation with Zutavern:

Digital savvy businesses leaders are pioneering the use of machine intelligence within their organizations - the combination of machine and human talent will unleash a whole new set of capabilities for products, services and most importantly business model innovation.

When most organizations today look at data, they’re looking at what happened in the past. For example, our whole economy depends on earnings reports from companies of what happened in the last quarter, or jobs growth for the last time period. Even organizations that are really adept at analytics rarely use them for predictive power. Among those that do, even fewer are taking advantage of what machines can do on their own. So the biggest gap right now in how organizations are operating is this: they’re not taking advantage of what machines are good at versus what people are good at. — Zutavern

AI is another seat at the boardroom table - a mathematical corporation will use data and the predictive power of data to better understand future trends and adapt accordingly. The combination of machine and human intelligence will accelerate concept to commercialization of capabilities.

In every industry, businesses leaders can leverage the power of data sciences to bolster business strategy - Zutavern references Tesla versus Google and the use of same technology, but different strategies, where Tesla is leaning into capturing far more user data from their autonomous cars to improve the user experience and innovation velocity.

“Machine intelligence won’t mean fewer jobs for humans; it will mean better jobs that will be different than they are today. We hear a lot of doom and gloom, but machine intelligence will actually create jobs—as well as industries that never existed before. When people can spend their time on higher value tasks, the overall number of jobs will increase as new businesses and industries emerge. And if you’re in a job that’s going to change, better to know now and embrace the transition rather than passively waiting for it to happen.” — Zutavern

In the AI economy, diversity of backgrounds is key to success - The liberal arts graduates have a great opportunity to impact product design and innovation strategies. Zutavern references innovation competitions and hackathons that benefit from groups from diverse backgrounds. An example of developing algorithms for detecting lung cancer was used to demonstrate the benefits of diversity of experience. The first step is figuring out what you don’t know and then inviting domain experts to collaborate as a team.

Video and image recognition will be a significant growth areas - There are many consumer, retail, government and safety applications that will require further advancements and application of AI-powered video and image recognition solutions. The power of deep learning and machine learning advancements in these areas will surely create new business model innovation opportunities.

Ethics and privacy must the first thing business leaders think about - The opt-out model is not sufficient framework for businesses to grow market share and gain stakeholder trust. Zutavern advises law makers, business leaders and entrepreneurs to lead the effort with respect to defining ethical and privacy issues as a community.

“The difference between the poet and the mathematician is that the poet tries to get his head into the heavens while the mathematician tries to get the heavens into his head.” — G.K. Chesterton

To become a mathematical corporation you must begin thinking differently and then acting differently. You must be inclusive, collaborative and open-minded to diversity of talent and expertise. Leaders must graduate from gut instincts and mental models and begin embracing advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. Please watch our video conversation with Angela Zutavern (Twitter: @AngelaZutavern) to learn more about how to become a mathematical corporation.

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