AI Business Week: AI implementation comes down to people

Business leaders in finance and telecommunications detail some of the thinking behind their AI strategies

Chuck Martin

February 26, 2021

1 Min Read

Businesses may approach AI implementations in multiple ways, and some interesting strategies were recently detailed by two companies in different industry sectors.

In separate panel discussions I moderated at the AI Business Week Digital Symposium, AI leaders from Bank of America and Telefonica shined a light on comprehensive approaches to AI, along with some of the asoociated benefits.

What became clear during both conversations is that while AI technology can be deployed throughout an organization, solving people issues is often a bigger challenge.

“We at Bank of America think about the work that we’re doing as Intelligent automation,” said Salah Khawaja, managing director for automation and global risk at Bank of America. “We want to basically kill the manual processing so we can free up our people to focus on the more insightful work that’s on the top of the pyramid.”

“We’re moving our people from low-value tasks to high value tasks.”

In addition to automation, BoA’s end-end AI approach includes dashboards, workflow, alerts and notifications, and search.

At Telefonica, people issues are front and center in creating enterprise-wide AI implementations. But one of the risks of AI is unintended consequences, noted Richard Benjamins, chief AI and data strategist at the company.

Benjamins suggested following a methodology of “responsible AI by design” and skilling up employees. He pointed out that the European Commission issued guidelines for trustworthy AI comprising seven key requirements for ethical AI, such as privacy and transparency.

Telefonica created an AI training course for employees that comprises principles, awareness, model training, questionnaire with recommendations, tools, and governance model.

No matter the tech, it still comes down to people.

(You can view presentations by Khawaja and Benjamins here.)

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