Here are excerpts from an interview with Matin Jouzdani, Associate Partner | Data and Analytics, KPMG Lower Gulf. Take a look at the challenges and value that AI will create for various sectors
Business Live ME: The potential for AI to infuse business and value chains across various industries is greater than ever before—how will it revolutionize the various sector?
Matin Jouzdani: The most important shift is that AI technologies—whether visual recognition, the ability to parse and understand text or bots that can automate processes—seems to be becoming much easier to configure and deploy.
This means it is possible for an organization to quickly experiment with AI and see results, without large investment or risk. This supports a pace of change and innovation that is driving exponential growth in AI use cases. Therefore, we believe that AI may increasingly be a part of how we live and work over the next few years. For businesses, the fact that AI is not strictly an IT or a business focus area—nor is it constrained to a single industry or topic—means that the potential is essentially limitless.
What are the key challenges and enablers for implementing AI services and solutions within organizations?
MJ: The progression of AI is analogous to that of the data transformation we have seen over the last decade or so. Once organizations accept that AI has the potential to offer a true competitive advantage, then there is often much less resistance to change and we tend to see more wide-spread adoption.
Just as no one debates the potential value of exploiting data anymore, we may soon be at the point where no one debates the significance of AI.
Another key challenge will be to ensure that the societal implications of AI are being managed and understood. Organizations must clearly communicate how they intend to adopt AI.
In addition, employees’ concerns about the implications AI in the workplace need to be top of mind for executives, along with customers’ apprehensions with respect to interacting with systems alongside humans.
What impact business leaders believe AI will have on their business over the next 5 to 10 years?
MJ: In our recent 2018 CEO Outlook-UAE and Oman report, we consistently found that leaders are seeing data, emerging technology and AI as opportunities rather than threats. In fact, our research shows that 86% of CEOs in the UAE and Oman believed that AI and robotics technologies will create more jobs than they eliminate.
Can you give us a perspective on the readiness of the organisations to embrace AI and how they are preparing their business for this change?
MJ: Many organizations are looking to AI as an opportunity to enhance their existing or planned digital transformations—and rightly so. Before adopting AI at scale, one key problem to solve (for example) is establishing a coherent data management strategy.
The ability to integrate data from both within and outside the organisation and disseminate it to all departments is a key enabler. Put another way: the organizations that are getting data management right will also be successful with AI.
How will machine learning change the way executives do their jobs and what kind of jobs will be affected the most?
MJ: As mentioned previously, there is less doubt that many blue-collar jobs will be disrupted by AI. This will gradually lead to a rebalancing of the workload in organizations. As one leader put it, technologies such as AI will allow people to do more with less. This could also possibly have an impact on executives’ decision-making processes—automation, machine learning and data are increasing informing the existing mechanisms of decision-making, such as intuition, experience and more subjective judgements. This may well have fascinating implications on leadership and governance across industries.
IDC (International Data Corporation) 11 finds that the biggest opportunity for AI in the Middle East and Africa region is in the financial sector where it is estimated that 25% of all AI investment in the region will be spent on developing AI solutions. This is followed by the public services, including education and healthcare, and the manufacturing sector.