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Chloe Smith

FutureProduct: What Is Generative AI and What Problem Is It Solving?

Part One - Demystifying Generative AI’s Purpose and Impact

FutureProduct: What Is Generative AI and What Problem Is It Solving?


With AI's continuous advancements, the question of its capabilities and potential challenges is at the forefront of many debates today. This is the first in a series of posts following on from FutureProduct’s latest panel session, we’ll uncover into the various facets of Generative AI and the problems it is helping solve.

Read what insights our panel experts had to say about Generative AI

  • Tim O'Neill, Co-founder at Time Under Tension – The transformative power of AI, where algorithms not only learn and recommend but create original solutions. 
  • Dr. Baichuan Sun, Sr. AI/ML Solutions Architect at AWS – The evolution and misconceptions surrounding AI, highlighting its progress in specific applications and the pursuit to artificial general intelligence.
  • Kellie Barnes, ex-Chief Disruption Officer at Asahi – The pervasive presence of AI in younger generations' lives, raises ethical questions and emphasises the need for education.
  • Justin Spyridis, CTO at Newgen Systems – The progression and impact of AI in various industries, drawing parallels with the phenomenon of IoT. 

What is AI and what problem is it solving?

Tim O’Neill Creating original solutions

“We've gone from building an algorithm that will learn and make recommendations, to building an algorithm that can learn and now actually create that recommendation for you.” – Tim O’Neill

Tim reminded  us that everyday apps like Spotify utilise the fundamentals of AI. However, what those apps don’t do is “create a new view. And that's the kind of world that's opened up now with generative AI.” As Tim suggested, we've gone from the algorithm will learn and make a recommendation to the algorithm that could learn and actually create that recommendation for you.

Dr. Baichuan Sun Pursuit to artificial general intelligence

“People keep pushing boundaries to improve the hardware, the technology, the software, and fundamentally the mathematics. We are essentially trying to model how the human brain works, then trying to mimic it.” – Dr. Baichuan Sun

Baichuan began by defining AI as “fundamentally mathematics” and emphasised the progress made in specific AI applications. The technology is shifting towards more comprehensive models that can perform a wide range of tasks which he referred to as having "near human quality". Baichuan discussed the ultimate objective of achieving Artificial General Intelligence, where AI would possess its own identity and consciousness. 

Kellie Barnes Educating our organisations

“It’s an ethical question...what is it? What is the role that we have to hold in educating organisations? What is the organisational capability and how do we get really good at feedback, because feedback is really important in the model.” – Kellie Barnes

Kellie emphasised both a significant risk and an opportunity for organisations. younger generations, Gen Z and Gen Alpha possess a natural understanding of how “the power of humans and computer intelligence can work together seamlessly”. This shift raises philosophical questions about control and conversations around AI, particularly “once it’s in te hands of the consumer”. 

Justin Spyridis AI in the telco industry

“It's starting to show itself in the telco sector from a predictive maintenance terms of cognitive customer experience, I think AI will have a big impact across the industry.” – Justin Spyridis

Reflecting on early encounters with AI, such as navigation units in cars, Justin highlighted the ability to detect quicker and more efficient routes. From a “telco perspective, AI has already been utilised in predictive maintenance”, particularly in high-risk scenarios where drones and computer vision help avoid dangerous situations for human workers. Spyridis emphasised the cognitive customer experience, mentioning the use of advancements in Chat GPT, which provides dedicated outputs based on questions.

Key Takeaway

The future of AI remains a mystery, as its potential continues to unravel amidst seamless integration and philosophical inquiries. Rather than solely focusing on governance, it is crucial to question the underlying issues at hand. By asking what risks we are trying to mitigate and what problems we seek to solve, we can determine the appropriate application of AI.

To read more from our Generative AI panel session, continue reading the following articles

  • Part Two: What Role will Generative AI Play in Shaping Skillsets and Various Industries? read here
  • Part Three: What Role will Generative AI Play in Shaping Skillsets and Various Industries? read here
  • Part Four: How Might Teams Implement AI into Their Ways of Working? coming soon

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