At the World Knowledge Forum, Nick Holzherr, Whisk’s CEO & founder, met Bruce Anderson, IBM’s Global Managing Director, and Sunggy Koo, Samsung’s Smart Appliance VP, to talk about how artificial intelligence will change how we do business and the impact of AI on our lives.

It’s a great discussion, particularly to compare perspectives between global corporates and a high-growth tech startup.

To get a deeper understanding of how AI is changing the way we live and do business today, watch the video or see the summary below.

Artificial intelligence is much more accessible than it has ever been before,” comments Nick, so the potential to quickly change various aspects of our everyday life and the way people do business is only just being realised. We see AI increasingly disrupting industries; bookstores are replaced by Amazon, Spotify and Pandora changed the music industry, and Tesla and Uber are transforming transport with autonomous and electric cars.

“If your industry hasn’t been disrupted already, it most probably will be. The question is when not if.” – said Nick Holzherr, CEO and Founder of Whisk.

Explaining the role of artificial intelligence in today’s world Bruce Anderson, IBM Global Managing Director, said: “We think of AI as Augmented Intelligence. It’s a very important distinction. We don’t think that this is going to replace the human beings. We think that this is going to make human beings more productive.”

If your industry hasn’t been disrupted by artificial intelligence, it most probably will be. The question is when not if.

– Nick Holzherr, CEO and Founder of Whisk

How can top management realise the full benefits of AI?

The critical question in the discussion was whether the data is more important than the product itself. And the short answer is yes.

According to Bruce Anderson, the problem of taking full advantage of AI capabilities lies in the product-mentality of top management. Transforming the thinking to an approach more focused around data is still quite a challenge for a lot of companies. Taking this approach would be a significant step forward in establishing a competitive advantage.

However, most companies still think that data is expensive but it doesn’t have to be.

Commenting on the way Whisk collects and processes data for its Cognitive Food Platform, Nick says that: “there is an incredible amount of free data available publicly for us to analyze, chop up and stick together.”

What is the value of AI: what will customers pay for new features?

Both Nick and Bruce agreed that the question really comes down to what solution it solves for the customer or consumer. Using an example from the food industry, Nick explained that retailers, being sales-driven, will always think of ways to increase their sales.

The question may not be how to improve the product, but how to increase the number of users to their website. For many retailers today – the answer to questions often lies in personalization.

Asked about what advice he would give to companies who had started AI projects in the past but weren’t able to realise them, Nick said that companies who haven’t been using machine learning and deep learning but only traditional AI technologies might want to take a fresh look at their old dream projects again and see whether they’re now possible – AI technology has advanced quickly and what wasn’t feasible a few years ago might now be.

“The advantage of deep learning is that once you’ve got to a certain position, you don’t stop there. It gets better and better and better. And it is scalable. It manages to do the tasks that you thought might not have been possible if you used the traditional AI methods,” Nick said.

Those failed projects from 3-5 years ago that many companies still carry scars from can now be realised with AI, and having failed before is not a good reason not to try again as costs come down and capability has grown exponentially.

Key success factors for AI: do you need to be a scientist to make it happen?

As every company and industry is unique, there are many unique use cases but you do need the right people and culture to harness the potential of AI.

Success all depends on what your strategy is and how much effort and resource you’re willing to invest, according to the discussion participants.

Depending on what your goals are as a company, you might want to build your own AI team or go with an AI company to help you speed things up.

“Experience will help you move much faster. And if you don’t have that experience ready, it can be quite difficult. Maintenance is something that will cause hidden costs. The technology is moving so rapidly that once you’ve implemented a solution, you’re likely moving on to the next iteration of deep learning or available technology to keep up and have your solution at the cutting edge,” Nick commented.

Using a specialist AI partner can help you move faster, save money and reduce the risks associated with hiring new teams and forcing them into an established corporate culture. Whisk has some great examples of successful partnerships with some of the world’s largest organisations that are now benefiting from Whisk’s deep learning Food AI.