George Zarkadakis is an established expert on AI in business. He has a PhD in AI, has written a book on the subject, and is currently Digital Lead at Willis Towers Watson.
In his role at WTW, George is responsible for the company’s overall digital efforts – from evangelizing digital innovation in social, mobile, analytics and cloud applications for HR to science supervisor to WTW’s machine learning team in talent analytics.
AI Business last interviewed George ahead of the inaugural AI Summit in London, where he was one of the keynote speakers, so we were very keen to catch up ahead of The AI Summit in San Francisco in September, where George will be speaking again, offering his specialist insight into AI and the Future of Work.
George Zarkadakis of Willis Towers Watson
The AI Summit in London, George says, was an event that “proved that there is a great interest in big companies about the impact of AI on their business”. He continued:
“The impact can be significant, and most likely profound. AI can disrupt business models, processes, data insights and, of course, talent management. Business leaders are becoming increasingly aware that they need to develop a coherent strategy about AI, but they are challenged. Where do they start? What skills they need to execute? What is the magnitude of investment?”
George points out that WTW are responding to these needs “by taking to market our new offering about the Future of Work that includes the impact of AI”. The application of AI at WTW appears to be in both internal application as well as external consultation:
“We already applying Robotic Process Automation as well as cognitive automation in several internal processes and data insights – and we are including the impact of AI in how we serve our clients with our advisory services”.
So what is key to AI adoption within an enterprise? George ultimately cites leadership as a “make or break” factor:
“The fourth industrial revolution creates amazing new opportunities for companies, but also brings new risks. Take for example digital vulnerability and cyber risk, or the risk of being outsmarted by competitors who were quicker to adopt AI technologies and transform their customers’ experience. The pace of change is also significantly quicker than ever before. Only leaders with quick reflexes, who can access the right expertise quickly, will be able to take their companies into this new era successfully”.
At WTW, George and his team are currently focused on quality improvement and cost reductions in process automation and predictive analytics – two areas that are pertinent to the finance sector as a whole.
But what about AI’s impact on business overall? In our last interview with George, he cited medical diagnostics as a particular industry that will be a pioneer in adopting AI technologies.
“Most definitely, medical diagnostics has the characteristics of a business that can be revolutionized by cognitive automation. But what this truly tells us is that most expert professions across every industry are likely to be transformed in this new world where algorithms can manipulate knowledge and draw conclusions from it. But you do not need to go to the ‘top-end’ of automation to see the change. RPA is a mature technology that can deliver high ROI right now”.
At The AI Summit in San Francisco on 28-29 September, George Zarkadakis will deliver his keynote entitled The Human Use of Human Beings: AI and the future of work, in which he will discuss the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on business.
AI Business recognises the huge opportunity that AI presents the finance industry. At The AI Summit in San Francisco, some of the most exciting Fintechs will meet with CxOs from the world’s biggest banks, insurance companies, accounting and private equity firms.
To find out more, visit: theaisummit.com