How artificial intelligence is transforming the workplace

BBC News interview with Paul Sallomi

Paul Sallomi, US and Global Technology Sector Leader, recently sat down with Dan Damon, BBC Journalist and Host of the BBC’s “World Update” to share his perspectives on how cognitive computing is transforming the way we live and work.

Interview transcript

DAN: Paul Sallomi is Head of Global and US Technology for the Professional Services Business, Deloitte. He told me why he believes it is such an exciting time for AI in the workplace.

PAUL: All of the technologies that are enabling developments in artificial intelligence or cognitive computing are converging to really create some exciting things. There is really a new era of computing that is emerging. We are seeing computers that are functioning in entirely different ways than ever before. We've got an increasingly sophisticated understanding of how the human brain works and newly developed abilities to embed brain-like elements in the computers—think about things like voice and pattern recognition, natural language processing, and machine learning. We now have computers that can assist oncologists in diagnosing cancer treatment. These are computers that can analyze millions of pages of medical records, journals, and textbooks; hypothesize and theorize on what the most appropriate treatment is for a particular type of cancer; and then iterate with oncologists in order to refine that hypothesis based on additional information. It's fascinating.

DAN: I mean that in itself sounds astonishing, Paul. I thought you might give us the example of bank fraud because that quite impressed me.

PAUL: Well, they are certainly AI applications that are actually working to early detect, and I think one of the exciting things that is happening in AI relates to the ability to, once we get in full swing, to actually pre-identify and avoid things like fraud before they happen. I mean with the earliest examples of areas where we have seen preemptive AI, in my mind, happens in automotive, and we are all very comfortable with things like anti-lock brakes, things like sensors that help cars avoid collisions or stay on their path. We are even at the point now where we have one state in the United States, the State of Nevada that actually allows automation in interstate travel for trucking. So we’re going to see a lot more applications where we actually will have the ability through AI to actually detect and, in many cases, prevent issues before they even happen.

DAN: It sounds exciting. It might be scary to those running businesses, especially manufacturing industry, where they have to try and get ahead of this idea and make the most of the forthcoming potential. What’s your advice?

PAUL: Every now and then, I think it is very important to essentially put on your paranoia hat, think about what might happen if you as an enterprise do nothing about this and sit idly by and watch as this unfolds. Is there a disruptive force that could have an impact on your business model? Could your business model be transformed? Could you lose customers? Are there examples already of that happening? I think there are examples emerging rapidly of applications that are likely to transform a variety of industries. I started a little bit with the oncologist example. There is another really exciting thing that is happening in AI around not only pattern recognition in text but pattern recognition in pictures. And I really like this example. Imagine a situation where through a photograph, a computer can determine whether or not an abnormality on skin is a benign abnormality or a melanoma, and picture a world where rural physicians in remote areas of the world that have access to a smartphone can take a photograph of the skin abnormality and instantly receives support in making decision on whether a patient needs to visit a major medical facility for treatment. Isn’t that a better world for all of us?

DAN: That’s Paul Sallomi from Deloitte. You are listening to World Update.

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