AI Business recently did an interview with Martin Joseph Brej, Vice President of Global Services at Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters provides professionals with the intelligence, technology, and human expertise they need to find trusted answers. They enable professionals in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, and media markets to make the decisions that matter most, all powered by the world’s most trusted news organisation.

Martin Joseph Brej

 AI Business was eager to catch up with Martin Joseph Brej after his attendance at the AI Summit in San Francisco, 28-29th September. Brej is a professional that thrives when creating measurable business results through the application of new technologies and that he sees himself as an analytically oriented hands-on business team leader, accomplished in balancing business and technology priorities while achieving financial objectives and deadlines. His specialities are enterprise software–sales & implementation and disruptive technologies.

AI Business wanted to know how Joseph Brej believes that AI will impact business overall and in what ways?

Brej refers to a recently published Wall Street Journal article that explains how services productivity has lagged the manufacturing sector for decades. “Perhaps augmenting services labour with these AI technologies will help a rebound in services sector productivity growth”, Brej says, explaining how he sees potential in artificial intelligence and how it could eventually improve productivity growth within these sectors.

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

Brej replies with the same concern raised by many over this past year, that the effect of artificial intelligence is not properly portrayed to the public. There is a lack of knowledge that is required to make people more comfortable with the thought of this technology entering our lives, and that needs to be addressed.

“We are all averse to change–especially change we do not understand.  AI suffers from being a bit too much of a ‘black box’ to the general public, I think. As proven use cases get established, laggards will follow”, Brej says.

“But as we learned from the AI Summit, there is a significant ‘first-mover’ advantage to these technologies, so laggards may not achieve with the leaders do”.

Talking of the AI Summit, we were interested in knowing what Joseph Brej saw as his key takeaways from the event, and in what ways this experience would  impact his approach to business at Thomson Reuters?

“I will be looking to introducing AI technologies selectively in our Services Operations”, Brej explained. “As Tim Hardford advocates–small bets–to experiment and see what works”.

He explains that as of right now he does not have any immediate specific plans to introduce AI into their services operations, but that he is definitely keeping an eye out and that he is very eager to try new things.

What part does AI have to play at Thomson Reuters in the short- and long- term?

“As a subscription content business (“The Answer Company”), I think Thomson Reuters has much to gain from adoption of AI technologies”, Brej says. “I think we have near terms opportunities around continuing to incorporate voice technologies like Alexa as a front end for our existing products”.

“I made connections at the AI Summit to consider Chat technology for Customer Support. I can see longer term applicability for automated content generation as well.  These are just a few examples [of what part AI has to play at Thomson Reuters”, Brej explains.

Looking into the future, how do you think your industry will change by adopting AI?

“How won’t it be changed?!”, Brej asks. “I think these technologies will become much more pervasive more quickly than anyone anticipated. In terms of how the industry might change–I look at my specific role–implementation services–and think of how many project overrun their timelines, budgets, etc.  It is very unpredictable and sometimes chaotic!  I am hopeful that AI-enhanced services might help us be more productive, consistent and predictable”.

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