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Former NASA Chief Innovation Officer talks AI and its impact on our future at Schneider Electric World Innovation Day 2020

Sydney NSW, Australia

23/06/2020

Schneider Electric, leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, held its annual World Innovation Day event virtually this year on 21 May. The day included presentations from energy technology experts, including former Chief Innovation Officer at NASA, Dr Omar Hatamleh. 

“We were excited to invite Dr Omar Hatamleh to present at this year's Schneider Electric World Innovation Day event” commented Joe Craparotta, Vice President of Strategic Customers & Segments at Schneider Electric. 

“Dr Hatamleh has a wealth of knowledge on the topic of how artificial intelligence is predicted to impact our future. AI is something that we are constantly developing at Schneider Electric. Any AI application that delivers tangible business outcomes is a breakthrough.  Our goal is to turn data into actionable insights so that we continue to deliver efficiency and sustainability with our energy and automation digital solutions” Craparotta concluded.

Dr Hatamleh held a progressive presentation on artificial intelligence, its impact on the global economy and the future of job security, a timely conversation given the current Australian unemployment rate jumping to 6.2% in April. 

“We tend to talk a lot about the progress we’ve made as a species over the past century, so the question is; what is the world going to look like in the next 25 - 50 years? Research shows that approximately 60% of jobs that will exist in the next decade don’t currently exist and that 50 million manual labour jobs will be lost as a result of automated processes in the next 3-4 years alone.” Dr Hatamleh commented in his presentation. 

“A key challenge we face is that AI not only competes with manual labour, but also competes with intellect. In the medical field, AI technology can provide an 8-9% better diagnosis than some of the best radiologists in the field.” 

Dr Hatamleh suggests that businesses have a responsibility to commit to digital transformation initiatives and to be proactive about upskilling teams for the job market of the future. 

“There’s no room for reactive strategies in today’s environment, businesses must be proactive as well as diverse. Diversity drives innovation and provides a competitive advantage - and innovation doesn't need to be expensive.”

“Exaptation is a prime example of this; feathers on birds were never intended for flying, they were intended for thermal insulation. This same principle can be applied in the business world.”

Dr Hatamleh provided six strategic measures that organisations can implement to get on the front foot of the AI boom:

1. Validate key business assumptions early

2. Take measured risks

3. Push the boundaries of innovation

4. Call out innovation in performance metrics

5. Recognise and accept that failure is an option but fail fast and learn from it, don’t keep repeating the same mistake. 

6. Be diverse and establish collaborations that consist of various industries

Dr Hatamleh concluded by calling for global collaboration to help solve the challenges that AI presents to the future. 

“Innovation and collaboration between industries, academic institutions, and government agencies is needed at a global level to solve some of the common challenges these technologies present.” 

Australia

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