“Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” – Microsoft Mission Statement
On Thursday 9th November, member firm Sia Partners hosted a Young MCA event featuring keynote speakers Phil Harvey (Senior Cloud Solution Architect for Data & AI) and Dan Figueiredo (Senior Partner CTO for Advisory firms) from Microsoft UK focusing on the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on businesses.
After describing how AI already exists in many of the applications we use day-to-day, i.e. Microsoft PowerPoint suggesting slide themes based on the content, Dan explained some of the milestones that Microsoft AI has recently reached such as achieving human parity in speech and object recognition. A number of larger scale uses for AI were also discussed, including detecting illegal small-scale mines in Ghana using Deep Learning and Satellite Imagery.
In a case study relevant to management consulting Dan and Phil explained how Rolls Royce have provided millions of pounds worth of savings to airlines through the use of Microsoft AI to help identify optimum fuel level and predict part lifecycles to allow efficient maintenance and global distribution of spares.
Microsoft sees AI as a tool to empower employees and make them more effective, engage customers by building deeper relationships, optimise operations and develop better products. The pillars underpinning these tools are Reasoning (learn and form conclusion with imperfect data), Understanding (interpret meaning of data including text, voice and images) and Interacting (interact with people in natural ways).
The AI market is estimated to grow to $89.8bn by 2025 and the variety of questions following the presentation represented the scale of this opportunity. Questions included:
• How to deal with biased AI?
• What will the ‘final’ AI look like?
• Will AI be able to rewrite its own code in the future?
The event was an eye-opening insight into the capabilities and endless possibilities of AI and for those keen to learn more Phil and Dan suggested the following books as interesting reading: ‘The Future Computed, Artificial Intelligence and its role in society’ and ‘Tools and Weapons, the promise and the peril of the digital age’. For everyone who has a further interest in learning more about AI, Dan and Phil provided the following online sources:
• Microsoft learn
• AI Playbook
• AI Lab
Words by Jack Chapman and Dimitri Snegur, Vendigital