An AI TECH TALK at the IE Business School

Source: IE Business School AI Club

IE Business School’s Artificial Intelligence Club, Air & Space Club and Robotics club jointly hosted TECH TALK IE on Nov 23rd 6–8pm at IE’s Paper Pavilion. The event invited industry leaders and asked them to share their insights in the emerging tech space. The speakers backgrounds ranged from advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to aviation and working on missions to Mars. It turned out to be an insightful opportunity to learn for both tech enthusiasts and IE business students alike. I was honored to be invited to speak on their AI panel, alongside Balviner Powar (Booster & Aerdron), Rodrigo Haya Ramos (SENER), Elena Baillo (Iberia), Kiron Ravindran and Konstantina Valogianni (IE Business School).

For those who were unable to make it, I share questions that were asked and my personal take on them. Enjoy!

Source: IE Business School’s AI Club

1. How can higher-education institutions prepare their students for a world full of artificial intelligence (AI), and yet-to-be-defined job titles?

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), education can’t keep up with our fast-moving world, and our traditional methods are not enough to prepare us for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) — a world with a combination of artificial intelligence, the internet of things, internet of systems, and more. Expect a 4IR wave of workers being replaced by machines (an estimated 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk from automation).

Source: World Economic Forum

So, at large, the question shouldn’t be what can higher education institutions do to prepare its students for a world filled with AI. Instead, the question we must pose is: what can we, as a community of multi-stakeholders (in the public and private sector), and us, as individuals, do to prepare for the 4IR?

My advice to you:

  1. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, and skill sets. Consider what, that you do, can be automated. For hints, take a look at McKinsey Growth Tech’s “Where Machines Could Replace Humans — and Where They Can’t (Yet)” report.
  2. Always be learning. Based on what your analysis of step 1, work towards developing less replaceable skills. Leverage MOOCs, such as Coursera and Udemy. See a list of MOOCs and open course providers here.
  3. Stay nimble and adaptive. Be informed of what is happening in the world and be willing to try something new. Research the job growth areas and be open to go in that direction. Hint, businesses can’t find the right tech talent and cybersecurity is set to see 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021.

For more information on the 4IR and the future of jobs, get WEF’s report: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

2. Are we in an AI bubble? How should students prepare themselves for the risks and uncertainties of the AI sector?

With two winters under it’s belt, I doubt that AI is in a bubble. What I would say is that AI is overhyped. That’s normal, as all technology goes through hype cycles. Right now AI/Machine Learning is at its peak. In 2–5 years you can expect it to continue with the cycle from where it is today. The progression will look something like this:

  1. Peak of inflated expectations
  2. Trough of disillusionment
  3. Slope of enlightenment
  4. Plateau of productivity
Source: Gartner

You can certainly expect investment to climb along with revenues of companies leveraging AI. Forrester predicts that AI will drive the insights revolution and that this revolution will “steal $1.2 Trillion annually by 2020.”

Source: Forrester Research

3. Do we have too high expectations of AI? Will AI surpass human intelligence in all kinds of businesses and functions?

As previously mentioned, right now AI is overhyped. AI is currently in its infancy and just learning how to do simple things like: see (computer vision), listen (speech analytics), and talk (natural language processing). You can think of AI as a baby.

But AI is a baby that will grow up. In my opinion, the question is not, “will AI surpass human intelligence?” but “when will AI surpass human intelligence?”

In a sense, AI already surpasses human intelligence but in narrow activities, such as:

  1. Find unexpected correlations and patterns in vast quantities of data
  2. Translation of many languages
  3. Play games (e.g. Jeopardy and Go)
  4. Recognize images
  5. Reporting news

Still, humans can do the following better than AI:

  1. Empathy
  2. Sympathy
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Creativity
  5. Curiosity

That said, have you met Sophia the Robot? She’s eerily human-like and can tell jokes.

Source: Good Morning Britain on YouTube

Of course, Sophia is now starting to express “I have feelings like everyone else.”

Source: YouTube

4. According to the Financial Times, IE Business School ranks #3 in Europe and #8 worldwide for its MBA programs and ranks #1 in entrepreneurship. What unique advantage do IE students have when it comes to entrepreneurship in AI?

From a school that is blazing a path in the tech classroom of the future, with the WOW Room, you can expect at least a handful of advantages for its tech focused students. Students at IE can benefit from IE Business School’s MBA core curriculum (which includes a breadth of technology courses), specialized programs in Technology, Analytics, and Innovation and Cybersecurity, Masters in Business Analytics and Big Data, and more.

In terms of entrepreneurship and AI, there is an opportunity to grow and I think that the IE AI Club can help with that. I’d love to see the AI Club establish an ecosystem that nourishes the marriage between entrepreneurship and AI. Here are a few ideas on how to do that:

  1. Create a community of AI inclined students, startups (e.g. Madrid’s Source{d} and graphext), investors, and experts
  2. Identify problems that AI can solve and have startup-weekends
  3. Provide opportunities for people to be inspired, supported and guided on their path to an AI profession (e.g. encourage IE to build in more AI courses, etc)

5. AI, unlike other technologies, has been troubled with ethical issues since its early days. Various public figures like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have argued against AI. Do you think these concerns pose a threat to the development of AI technologies?

Source: Pinterest

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking raise interesting concerns. Musk believes that we only have a 10% chance of making AI safe and Stephen Hawking says that AI could end mankind. It’s a tad dramatic don’t you think? Whether it is or it isn’t, I’d rather not waste my energies on what bad can happen with AI because we can’t stop it or make it go away. AI is here to stay.

With that in mind, I suggest we focus our energies on how we want to AI to be. Following the analogy that AI is like a baby, we need to figure out how we want to raise it. I share some ideas on how to do just that in my TEDx “Raising AI.”

For more information on artificial intelligence, feel free to peruse the 2017 AI Overview here.

At the end of the day, here’s what we can conclude: AI, and our future in general, will be messy and unpredictable. I leave you with two quotes:

“Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all time.” — John F. Kennedy
Source: Karol Zielinski
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” — Abraham Lincoln

About Author: Lolita Taub is a TEDx speaker and keynote, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, an artificial intelligence enthusiast, and an enterprise tech professional and investor at Portfolia. She holds 9 years of enterprise B2B software-hardware-and-services sales experience at IBM, Cisco Systems, and in Silicon Valley. Lolita has been recognized for her work on Forbes,, The Huffington Post,, and Los Angeles Times, among other publications.

Follow Lolita on Twitter @lolitataub, visit her here, and connect with her on LinkedIn here.