UPDATED 19:27 EST / OCTOBER 25 2016


Spherical models: Machine learning takes IT way outside the box | #ibmwow

Successful adoption of artificial intelligence technology, big data platforms and the resulting process innovations within a global business strategy requires a radical change in perception. This is a spherical, fluid way of thinking completely outside the box, and we’re only now beginning to understand and apply such changes to businesses across the globe.

Eric Hunter, director of Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Strategies at Bradford & Barthel LLP, and executive director of Spherical Models LLC, joined John Furrier (@furrier) and Dave Vellante (@dvellante), co-hosts of theCUBE*, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during IBM World of Watson to discuss how businesses can adapt to the spherical world, as well as its impact on office culture.

Spherical world of the future … it’s here

AI, machine learning … these can seem like futuristic concepts, but they’re happening now. Furrier asked about how we can learn to deal with this spherical world, a much more fluid world, where there’s no real divide between our work lives and our personal lives.

“We’re blurring lines between personal and business, all the time. I think that when we’re looking at businesses itself, as individuals, it’s important to take a look at what’s causing efficiencies within your personal life,” Hunter said. “Oftentimes, it’s the tools we use every day; whether it’s the Google searches or whether you’re logging into Facebook or Twitter feeds … that spherical aspect, that idea that each individual can be their own collaboration point is something that I think really touches on that.”

Hunter went on to explain, “So when we’re talking about elements like Watson and AI and innovation, it’s really important to think of, okay, we’re actually [already] interacting with this, every day, and oftentimes, the results are subtle. Whether it’s [our] favorite sports teams [that] we watch, [or] the newscasts, or how we approach our business and the individuals in it, we’re all interacting with it. And understanding that I think helps people take the first step.”

Vellante asked about how many people are very concerned about losing their jobs to AI.

“You’re putting forth a vision that talks about how AI can enrich lives … there’s opportunities, obviously, but not everybody is in a position to take advantage of those [opportunities] today,” he explained. “I couldn’t agree more. The retraining aspect is key.”

Hunter then gave the example of an airline replacing employees with ticket kiosks. “What else can the airline use those individuals for that can further innovate [their business] forward?” he asked. “If all we’re doing is taking out workforce to automate for this particular path, we’re ignoring 3, 5, 7, 10 years [in the future], and that’s where [the benefit of that] retraining goes. Even if the company can’t see it within the next year, you have to have that side.”

Adaptive behaviors

Furrier asked about the societal impacts of this sort of technology as it relates to business.

Hunter explained that he believes on the social side you can’t divorce technology from process, including the process of talking to each other. “You take a look at some of the highest corporations in the world, take a look at how great their advertising targets their audiences,” he said. “But within their structures, the business process, how do you get people to work together? In the corporate structure, you have the same interpersonal problems. … We bring our social structure into the workplace … not just the technology or innovation. It’s our behavior that has to adapt to that.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of IBM World of Watson 2016.

*Disclosure: IBM and other companies sponsor some IBM World of Watson segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE. Neither IBM nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.

Photo by SiliconANGLE.

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