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In Case You Missed It: IBM's Ginni Rometty at VivaTech 2018

Last week, IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty took center stage VivaTech 2018. Here are some of the most important takeaways from her keynote: Achieving Exponential Learning: AI in the era of responsible tech.

  • The Era of Exponential Learning: At its core, AI is about exponential learning for exponential impact—like nothing we have seen before. Exponential impact is the product of marrying AI with exponential data. Companies’ ability to learn exponentially is their greatest source of competitive advantage. Today, we are at a consequential moment in which data—unleashed by the maturation of AI—is reordering technology and business. Driven by this data transformation, IBM placed a big bet and set out one of the most ambitious reinventions in its history.
  • Trust and Transparency Principles: Data is the greatest opportunity of our time, but it is also the greatest challenge of our time. We can only reap the benefits of exponential learning if there’s trust. Ginni Rometty invited other companies to adopt IBM’s Principles for Trust and Transparency. The principles include:
  1. The purpose of AI is to augment human intelligence: AI systems should be designed to work with humans and expand the potential of everyone. AI should make us all better at our jobs. At IBM, we are investing in initiatives to help the global workforce gain the skills needed to work in partnership with these technologies.
  2. Data and insights belong to their creators: IBM clients’ data is their data, and their insights are their insights. Client data and the insights produced on IBM’s cloud or from IBM’s AI are owned by IBM’s clients.
  3. AI systems must be transparent and explainable: For the public to trust AI, it must be transparent. Technology companies must be clear about who trains their AI systems, what data was used to train those systems and, most importantly, what went into their algorithms’ recommendations. This is key to ensuring people understand how AI arrives at a conclusion or recommendation. Companies advancing AI also have an obligation to monitor for and correct bias in the algorithms themselves, as well as bias caused by the human-influenced data sets their systems interact with.
  • Technology for Social Good: AI offers incredible opportunities to drive widespread economic and social progress. Based on the vision that AI ought to be a force for good, IBM, the International Red Cross, and the United Nations, announced Call for Code—an annual, global initiative for which IBM pledged $30M. Call for Code invites developers to apply technologies like AI, blockchain, quantum, and IoT to address society’s toughest challenges. This year’s challenge is aimed at creating technology-led solutions to mitigate the impact of natural disasters.
  • Re-Skilling and The Future of Work: AI is going to transform every job, every profession, every industry and every country. IBM’s belief is that the purpose of AI is to augment human expertise, not replace it. But given that 100% of jobs will most certainly change, the challenge is to ensure that people have the skills required for this new AI era so that no one is left behind. The new era of exponential learning also creates opportunities for “new collar jobs,” where having specific, in-demand technology skills matters more than having a traditional bachelor’s degree. That’s why IBM is reinventing secondary education with its Pathways to Technology program—or P-TECH—and expanding access to innovative skills training and education programs worldwide.

Ginni Rometty concluded her remarks by quoting one of France's greatest scientists: Marie Curie. Ginni emphasized that Madame Curie’s words are as relevant now at the dawn of AI as when she spoke them long ago: "Rien dans la vie n'est à craindre, tout doit être compris." "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood." This is a lesson we must heed. We must understand AI, so that we don’t fear it – and use it wisely to create a better world.

Take a look at some of the highlights from VivaTech below.