The second part of the AI/Digital Summit – which took place on the first day of ICT Spring, in a phygital way, on September 15th – brought together international and local experts around the following topic: “leveraging Human potential with tech”. It was moderated by Valérie Arnold (Partner, CSR & Sustainability Leader, PwC Luxembourg).

"HumanX: How tech convergence is creating a new value equation for business" was the name of the first presentation of the afternoon and was given by Scott Likens (Emerging Technology Leader, PwC) live from Austin, Texas, and Anna Vassileva (Director, Digital Transformation, PwC Luxembourg), from the ECCL in Luxembourg. “The concept of Human X aims at combining minds and machine for a better world,” started Scott Likens, who then explained that 8 essential technologies have been trending for the past 5 years, and haven’t changed: AI, IoT, Blockchain, Augmented Reality, VR, 3D printing, drones and robotics. He added: “when they converge, they create something even greater”. The two experts then listed some of the results of such combinations. For instance, automated trust combines AI, IoT and blockchain, and could allow for more transparency in the supply chain industry. “Extended reality consists in AI, VR and IoT, and can be used to prototype and design new products and ideate together,” explained Anna Vassileva. The experts then presented other combinations: “working autonomy”, “immersive interfaces”, “digital reflection” and “hyperconnected networks”. They concluded: “the future is now, start exploring”.


Roger Krämer (Head of Business Innovation Office, Spuerkeess) then took the stage to focus on change management in a digital transformation. “You cannot change a company without the support of people and you cannot have the support of people without change management”, started the expert. According to him, the board has to be the main sponsor as digital transformation and change management must be the main strategic points of the company: “every single director must agree, as it changes the organization of the company, not just IT processes”. It is also important to deal with the impatience of the staff, and therefore, communication is key. He added: “think big for the long term, but go step by step. Appoint connectors to explain to the teams how to work, what’s going to change, etc. In other words, integrate as many people as possible”. As a conclusion, he underlined the fact that too much information can kill the information, and that transparency and self-questioning are key elements of the process.


The organizers then welcomed Laurent Ach (European Director, Rakuten Institute of Technology) who shared a presentation entitled “Understanding Image and Language with Deep Learning for E-Commerce”. “Within Rakuten, all the teams make use of data. Through our services, we deal with a huge amount of data, from products and interactions to users,” he highlighted, before explaining the mission of the Institute of Technology. The expert then focused on unstructured data and the need to convert NLP and images into structured data. “Now, through Machine Learning and Deep Learning, we can predict structured information using specific models, use the high-level representation of data from Deep Learning models and have a multimodal approach as we combine image, text and other types of input,” he highlighted.


“Towards a Digital & Resilient Society” was the name of the topic presented by Thomas Kallstenius (CEO, LIST). The CEO first shared the story of the tornado which happened in Luxembourg last August. “An unexpected event. Other events happened the same day: the fueling system of the Amsterdam airport did not work, and an important electricity shutdown happening in the UK”, added to the expert. He then described the concepts of resilience and antifragility, the latter meaning that organizations learn and can actually be better under pressure and stress. To try to prevent such unexpected events, LIST worked on the creation of the Digital Twin of Luxembourg, which allows end-to-end simulations. “This is where AI comes in and thanks to the digital twin could be used as a living lab and test bed. It’s great for companies, and obviously also for public authorities”,” he added. Thomas Kallstenius then presented some of the latest projects which benefited from this digital transformation: a dashboard to understand the Covid-19 pandemic and take educated decisions, and also the case of energy transition and redistribution.


Through a video, Priscila Chaves (Tech Ethicist & Impact Entrepreneur) focused on “AI, robots and ethics”. She started: “2020 has been the fastest year we have experienced as Human beings. And the slowest for tech”. She then shared several examples, from neurolink chips in the brain to future life on Mars, which clearly pose ethical dilemmas. “A new world is emerging as we speak. We are not only creating solutions for a world we already know, but also for a future we have no way of predicting. We need a future that is inclusive and diverse. Tech needs to be humane, not only good and efficient,” she explained. The expert concluded her presentation by sharing her pledge which can actually to be deciphered: make (Minorities, Assumptions, Knowledge, Engagement) tech (Trust and Transparency, Ethical debate, Culture, Harm potential) safe (Sense, Algorithms, Fairness in tech, Empathy).

“How digital technology can unlock human potential according to CEOs?” was the question asked by Patrice Witz (Technology and Digital Leader, PwC Luxembourg) in a round table which brought together Mirjam Bamberger (CEO, AXA Luxembourg & CEO, AXA Wealth Europe), Robert Scharfe (CEO, Luxembourg Stock Exchange) and Claude Marx (Director General, CSSF). The experts detailed how their respective companies reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to the use of digital. “No matter how good your Business Continuity Plan is, no one was prepared. The CSSF was able to continue its activities by enabling its staff with digital tools and suffered no operational disruption,” started Claude Marx. According to Robert Scharfe, it took less than 72 hours to put people in home office: “we needed to keep market surveillance up and running as financial markets were extremely volatile. We succeeded because we engaged in a project of cloud computing some time ago”. Mirjam Bamberger added: “we took decisions quickly and invested in digital”. According to Claude Marx, there are multiple ways to deploy tech and notably AI at the CSSF: “when it comes to prospectus reviews, Machine Learning and AI could automate some tasks and aid our experts”. At AXA, the focus is on the combination of trust and AI: the company integrates Humans in the development of AI. Also, the real issue to tackle is to solve ethical questions: who manages who? As explained by the CEO of LuxSE, AI is linked to data, and the stock exchange just launched a new service called “Luxembourg Green Exchange Data hub”, to make sure investors can use data in an efficient way. The experts concluded their discussion by sharing their recommendations. According to Robert Scharfe, “digital is a question of mindset; it brings enormous opportunities of building bridges between tech and established businesses”. Claud Marx explained that supervising entities should not be shy in terms of massive investments in digital: “it is a question of remaining connected to the market and the younger generations”. Finally, Mirjam Bamberger, commented: “never waste a crisis: learn fast and try to make sense of what is happening. Start shaping the new normal”.


Then, Jerome Bouthors (Executive Director, J.P. Morgan) took the stage: “Digital and AI are at the center of everything we do at JP Morgan. How can it benefit our clients and the entire community?” The bank is not shy at all when it comes to investing in all things digital: the group is composed of 52k technologists, 6.5k applications and has more than 250k virtual and mobile workspaces. Jerome Bouthors then shared the three pillars of innovation at JP Morgan: the need to define the digital strategy (with the stakeholders and aligned to business priorities), accelerate delivery (identify the optimal implementation path via internal development and third-party Fintech partnerships) and harness innovation (drive internal innovation and provide frameworks to increase employee contribution to innovation). He also described the bank’s blockchain journey and discussed the use of AI and Machine Learning. These technologies, providing quality data and advanced analytics, are used in the fields of thematic investing, fraud detection, AML and risk surveillance.


“How can AI be used to address the ethical dimensions of the covid-19 crisis?” was the question asked by Hubert Etienne (Philosopher, Researcher in Digital & AI ethics). “During the pandemic, people were bullied online, families were divided, more violent acts occurred in the household, and doctors had to take tough decisions: there were a lot of victims”, started Hubert Etienne. The Covid-19 raised complex multidimensional issues: sanitary, economic, social and political aspects. “None of these issues can be solved through algorithmic solutions alone. There are technical limits linked to the performance of the model. For instance, it is hard to detect irony and suggested ideas. There are also ontological limits linked to the nature of the system, as a moral agent still needs to take the final decision,” explained Hubert Etienne, who therefore advocated the complementarity between human judgment and automated decisions. When it comes to the sanitary aspect, it could model the spread of the outbreak to best allocate resources between sites or analyze clinical data to predict patients’ evolution and estimate occupation rates.


The afternoon session ended with Sir Michael Brady (Interim President, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence) told the audience about MBZUAI and how the UAE is nurturing AI talent through a new approach to academia and research. Its experts and future students will notably work on Machine Learning, in order to take the nation to the future. “It is important to realize the role and potential of AI. It will transform the healthcare sector, engineering, entertainment and more. It is the most transformative tech of all time and teaching it should be a responsibility”, added the expert. The goal is also to build a series of strategic relationships with top education schools all over the world as well as private and public institutions. Since its creation 18 months ago, MBZUAI researchers have published over 100 papers, defining a new model of academia. “Our goal is to change our world for the better” concluded Sir Michael Brady.


Alexandre Keilmann

Photos: Dominique Gaul

Publié le 17 septembre 2020