“Artificial Intelligence at the service of mankind – the holy grail of new technologies”. This was how Enrique Sánchez de León, the General Director of APD, defined the topic being covered in the latest session of the Spanish Directors around the World series, held on 19th April at the Hotel Wellington in Madrid. “The humanization of business through Artificial Intelligence” was the title of the session, which welcomed the participation of Javier Díaz, the General Manager South Europe and Latin America at IPSOFT.
Before the guest started his presentation, the General Director of APD, the association that organized the event in collaboration with EAE Business School, shared some reflections on Artificial Intelligence. “It will revolutionize today’s society and business processes: it will free up workers at the benefit of their creativity”. However, it is also the time to discuss the less positive aspects of this technology. “What will algorithms do when they know us better than we know ourselves? What will happen when Artificial Intelligence surpasses human intelligence?”.
After the reflections of Enrique Sánchez de León, Eduardo C. Dittman, the Associate Dean for Research at EAE Business School, introduced the keynote speaker at the event. A graduate of economic and business sciences, Javier Díaz also has an Executive MBA. Over the course of his professional experience, he worked at Oracle for over ten years and at Salesforce for more than five. In 2017, Díaz became the Managing Director for South Europe and Latin America at IPSoft, a US company that ranks among the world leaders in Artificial Intelligence.
Javier Díaz then gave the attendees at the event an overview of the key factors that have enabled him to achieve professional success “I dream big, work hard, keep focused, surround myself with positive people and head straight for the goal”. Particularly directed at the School’s students what took part in the event at the Hotel Wellington, he emphasized the importance of teams. He also thanked his former colleagues at Oracle for attending.
Turning his attention to the day’s topic, Artificial Intelligence, Díaz stated that it has been with us for a long time, “but it is only now that companies are realizing its value”. He went on to say that we are in the throes of the fourth Industrial Revolution, emphasizing that “Artificial Intelligence is the key factor”.
Big companies are getting on board with this trend that is going to revolutionize the market, to ensure that they don’t become obsolete. The guest speaker gave a number of examples of “scenarios of collaboration between humans and machines” that are already taking place. Call centres at telecommunications companies, the banking sector, medicine and research areas in which machines and humans are already working together. “Any company that embraces Artificial Intelligence must have a clear idea of what it offers and what it wants it for. The goal is for robots to eliminate routine tasks that take up so much of our time so that we can focus on what we know how to do best: being human”.
In the question and answer session that generated a high level of audience participation, Javier Díaz highlighted the Artificial Intelligence initiatives that are being developed and implemented in Latin America. “They are far more disruptive and stimulating that the initiatives I see in Europe”. Argentina, Peru and Brazil head the list of countries that are most committed to this technology, while banking, insurance and telecommunications, top the list of sectors.
Javier Díaz also underlined the need for regulation. “Technology is evolving much faster that the legislation”, he explained. This leads to the lack of response to questions related to liability in the event of tragic cases such as the accident with the driverless car.
To bring this session of the Spanish Directors around the World series to a close, Díaz highlighted the importance of cooperation between the labour market and schools and universities. He stressed that Artificial Intelligence will trigger changes in employment and is highly likely to eliminate jobs. However, he added that it will also generate new jobs that will require difference skills and competences. “Therefore, it is essential that schools and universities can train students in line with these trends”.