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Insights: Ginni Rometty Predicts Rise of Cognitive AI

June 10, 2019 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated May 01, 2020 20:07 PM UTC

The IBM head spoke at CEO Initiative 2019.

[MUSIC PLAYING] When we surveyed Fortune 500 CEOs, one of the questions we ask them, was to the extent you're using AI, are you using it-- are you using business process automation? Yeah, I'm sure they all said yes. Or are you changing the value for your customers? 69% said business process automation. That is 100% replacing people. Yeah. So I said the word augment. Right? So it doesn't mean that-- and I'm not trying to be word smithing. For as long as all of us would know, technology has replaced some things. That's going to happen. But augment, if the purpose of these technologies is to let you do what you do best. What man does best, and help him in doing his job, and I have come to see that now when I've watched this stuff fully implemented at clients. Look, I think the biggest issue with AI right now, I call it that most people have random acts of digital everywhere. And they've put this sprinkle dust of AI, and they're getting no value from it. Because it's just little bits of things. They didn't really change how any work got done. This is kind of chapter two. There's some pivots coming here, where the movie's going to go. But that idea that you're augmenting, that's why-- if you ask me, like some of my own lessons learned in implementing in IBM. Probably the biggest set of skills I had to build were all human centered skills. They weren't teaching people like the technologies of AI. It was having to put in 20,000 design engineers, 50,000 studios, 200,000 agile. Or I couldn't get the value out of putting the technology in the middle of a new workflow. But the business process automation is the easy stuff. That's the low hanging fruit. If you want to just do what you used to do automated. Most people don't want to-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] That doesn't augment humans. That just replaces them. Yes. So how do you get people to focus on where the value is? Not the easy low hanging fruit. Or not just the easy, low hanging fruit. Well, look, I think we're entering kind-- I view a chapter two here now. What people like, to date, almost all digital transformation-- everybody would say digital is the reason they're transforming. And I think, to date, everyone would say the bar has been set by born digital, born on the cloud, set the expectations of where experiences. I think you're kind of entering a second chapter. In this first chapter, most people I know who did anything with AI and automation, it was very much outside in. It was let's put something new out for customers on the front end. Something new. An outside in application. Typically customer facing. New and additional. And I think, when you say, how do I get this to go for the good? You were additive in what you were doing. You didn't fundamentally change how you did claims processing. You didn't fundamentally change these things yet. And so, I think we're about to start that side now. So I don't think people have seen that. We're in the early inning. I think we're in the very early innings of this. And the reason why, I always say, one of my biggest lessons learned on deploying AI, the hardest thing is changing the workflow and the change management. Because you've got to change how people do work. That is really the hard part. And we're just now coming into it. [MUSIC PLAYING]