AIBusiness recently interviewed one of the world’s leading researchers in Artificial Intelligence, Dr Fredrik Heintz. Fredrik is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Linköping University, Director of the Wallenberg Autonomous Systems Program (WASP) Graduate School and, on top of this, is President of the Swedish AI Society.

Fredrik will bring his AI expertise to The AI Summit in London on 5 May, where he will explore the key questions surrounding Autonomous Systems, looking both at where we are today and where we are going next. 

 AIBusiness caught up with Fredrik to find out his views on AI’s impact on business, the challenges we face in adopting AI and more, looking ahead to his presentation at The AI Summit.


fredrik heintz

Dr Fredrik Heintz


  1.  How do you believe AI will impact business overall and in what ways?

I expect AI to impact all businesses one way or another. For some it will be an opportunity to better understand their customers through machine learning and tailor their offerings to them. For some it will be automating the production and delivery process through collaborative factory robots and autonomous transportation systems. For some it will be the product itself that becomes more intelligent, for example those companies that produce robots or autonomous systems.


  1. What do you think are the main challenges in adopting AI technologies, from machine learning through to image recognition, in business?

I believe there are three levels of adoption. The first is to introduce AI products into the business, such as using an automated vacuum cleaning robot to clean the office. This is not much different from outsourcing a particular function. The second is to add or replace a function within the business, such as customer support or online marketing, with AI technology. This would change the internal workings of the company, but it would be a mostly independent functionality that is replaced. The third level would be to actually make AI technology part of the business in a way that people would interact with it continuously, such as having collaborative robots in a factory that workers collaborate with to produce the goods.


  1. Your talk at The AI Summit focuses on autonomous systems. Which currently manual business processes do you feel can be optimised most effectively through the implementation of autonomous systems?

All aspects of society can benefit from more autonomy in our systems! Two areas that are fairly well developed are automated logistics and autonomous vehicles. Here I expect to see quite rapid introduction. Two areas with great potential are autonomous factories and healthcare robotics. The first has the potential of only producing what is actually needed when it is needed and personalized to each particular customer. The key is to see the factory as part of the whole chain from production, to sales, to customer use. The potential of the second is to handle the ever-increasing needs and demands of healthcare. By letting robots take care of all the mundane and repetitive tasks resources a freed to meet patients. Through cognitive companions such as IBM’s Watson, knowledge intensive occupations such as doctors and lawyers are supported and made much more effective.


  1. Do you see the relationships between universities, product developers and businesses changing with the more widespread use of AI in business?

Many AI techniques require huge amounts of data, such as machine learning, which only companies have access to. This opens up for interesting opportunities for collaboration between universities with expert knowledge and companies with the data. There are also new opportunities in spreading the knowledge of AI to businesses to take advantage of the scientific advances.


At The AI Summit, Fredrik Heintz will deliver his presentation Autonomous Systems: Where are we and where are we going?

The AI Summit is the world’s first event dedicated to Artificial Intelligence for the business world. For more information, and to join us on 5 May at the Four Seasons Hotel, London, visit:
AISummit print screen


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