Will.i.am, Dreamforce and the Power of AI: The Biggest lessons I’ve learnt #DF16

I’m incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to witness the greatness … that was Dreamforce this week. This is the first time it’s been available to a wider audience, which I really appreciate. I used to think it was this exclusive event for the esoteric intellectual elite, but seeing that makes it even more accessible. For that I’d like to say Thank you Marc Benioff.

I had the pleasure of listening to the panel with Global Superstar Will.i.am, Shrazhad Rafati, CEO of BroadbandTV, Bank Of America CEO Brian Moynihan and the TOP man himself Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff.

I was elated to hear Shahrzad Rafati boldly declare ‘Nothing in life is impossible’ in a response to a question put to her by Benioff about the future of technology. 1) It’s great to see someone with such a can do attitude but 2) It is true. What really blew me away was Will.i.am’s observation or admission that everyone on the panel had been brought together because of their interest in technology.

As far as I’m concerned that’s THE most important thing in technology and if you want to pursue a career in technology. Nothing else. The computer will not discriminate against you if you don’t have the right qualifications but it won’t do what you tell it to unless you program it to do so which requires an understanding of programming.

She stated ‘Emotional Intelligence is Key.’ Very true indeed. This is what makes us human. I attended an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Panel/Workshop last week and one of the issues raised (that seems to come up more and more often) is AI replacing humans. To be honest, this will never be the case.

There are still many jobs and functions that require human thought and input. Technology serves as an ameliorator (if that’s a word) or a means of speeding up simple, mundane processes — not a replacement for humans.

I completely agree with Rafati that technology is there to create more meaningful jobs that people actually want to go to. I saw a statistic the other day that 18% of people loathe their jobs. That’s not right! People should enjoy going to work and look forward to the skills they get to develop while they’re there.

She believes technology is making white collar jobs more meaningful. Technology is making office work mean something. Technology is giving the Receptionist more power than they’ve had before. Shahrzad has rightly and succinctly highlighted the rise of the power of technology which is transformational.

Talk quickly turned to the prominence of AI, in Will.i.am’s Headphones, Shahrzad’s new technology she’s developing at BroadbandTV and Brian’s take on customer experience.

Some of the ideas she’s looking at involve leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) for pattern recognition, which I think is very cool.

She along with Will.I.am are curating databases in AI with the new technology that they are developing because as Shahrzad revealed the more data you have will help you build better algorithms.

Bank of America CEO, Moynihan was right to highlight the importance of understanding user consumption and thinking about helping the consumer when developing, integrating and embracing new technologies. This is exactly where AI can help to automate processes that can make the current customer experience long and laborious.

When you have $30bn of expenses a year you want to cut that down as much as possible. AI can do that and fill that void. But AI will not solve the problem alone and in fact humans are still needed. This is because the AI needs to be programmed in order to carry out the instructions and tasks given. Data input requires humans and with this more jobs can be created — an issue Shahrzad said is most important for Hillary in her bid to be the USA’s first female president.