From AI Literacy to China Speed: EO Day 2023
EO Day 2023 brought together experts from finance and insurance, administration and the automotive industry in Berlin. Keynotes, expert panels and the subsequent get-together offered plenty of space for a lively exchange.
It is a moral obligation of any government to vigorously and rapidly increase AI Literacy among the population to create the next evolutionary step towards a digital society: "The future is already here; it's just unevenly distributed."
With his captivating keynote "Psychology of Generative AI", bestselling author Dr Paul Marsden (Consumer Psychologist, University of the Arts London) made one of the most important statements at this year's EO Day in Berlin. Marsden allowed the interested audience exciting insights into the psychological factors that are conducive to the acceptance of AI or stand in its way. How can FOBO (fear of becoming obsolete) be overcome when using AI? Possible levers are AI Literacy and AI Proficiency: empowering people to move safely and responsibly in the AI-infused world.
Kai Müller (Founder and CEO, Experience One) described his view of generative AI from a business context and linked it to concrete recommendations for action for building a brand-owned AI experience across different industries. His message: AI transformation must be on CEOs' agendas. Those who do not deal with their own company-LLM today cannot remain competitive in the long run. Companies must give their employees room to engage with artificial intelligence - for the acquisition of knowledge, but also in the creative implementation of their ideas.
In the subsequent panel, Lena-Sophie Müller (Managing Director, Initiative D21 e.V.), Maren Heiß (Senior Vice President Retail Banking, DKB), Marek Rydzewski (CDO, BARMER) and Markus Scholz (Head of Digital Transformation Office, Mercedes Benz) discussed "AI-driven Transformation”.
According to Lena-Sophie Müller, society's understanding of AI has increased significantly in the last year, mainly due to the broad public awareness and accessibility of AI tools such as ChatGPT. Digital transformation would be strongly driven from the economy, i.e. from the application. Today, ethical considerations regarding the use of artificial intelligence are clearly also the responsibility of companies: Those who want to remain efficient and competitive must actively deal with it. In terms of speed, however, there is still room for improvement: digitisation is still being slowed down by many regulations.
When it comes to AI, however, we should not only focus on Germany and Europe, but also take a look at our Asian neighbours, said Markus Scholz (Mercedes-Benz): "Speed is no longer enough, we need China speed. Today it takes five years to develop a vehicle. Chinese manufacturers can do it in less than 30 months!" Can AI help with this? "Definitely. However, the basis has to be right, and for AI that is the quantity and quality of the data," says Scholz.
The panelists agreed that the fact that data is not available at all, very late or not in the right quality seems to be a cross-sectoral problem, from administration to the health and finance sectors to the automotive industry. However, Markus Scholz cannot confirm that this is a purely European problem. Even the US data giant Google faces similar challenges with large AI projects.
Is there an alternative to AI? Clearly not!
"In the midst of demographic change, we cannot sustain without the use of technology in the long term," Marek Rydzewski from BARMER is certain. Maren Heiß (DKB) also made a clear statement: "No bank can survive without innovation. The customers expect it!” However, all panelists agree that customer centricity is essential. "We can put everything inside a car, but what the customer uses in the end is entirely up to him or her," says Markus Scholz.
For Rydzweski, however, the use of innovation and AI will also have its limits where people are excluded with the technology because, for example, they do not own a smartphone or cannot participate in digital life for other reasons.
The consensus of the evening was clear:
- Germany and its companies are not idle when it comes to digitization, but regulations and a lack of data across all sectors are slowing down rapid progress.
- AI must become a top priority, whether in governments, business or administration. AI literacy and AI proficiency are essential for understanding and using AI and are indispensable for the acceptance of the technology.
- Any innovation is only as good as the acceptance of customers. Generative AI needs a concrete application that is strongly user centered. Only then, the brand's own AI experience can be a central tool to strengthen the customer relationship in the long term.
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