IBM Watson and the Future of Generative AI

The Futureproof Project: Generative AI
Thursday, August 31, 2023

Last week, Traction hosted an insightful dinner in NYC for The Futureproof Project. We were honored to have Saul J. Berman, Ph.D. as our guest speaker for the evening.

Dr. Berman is a recognized Futurist and a seasoned advisor to senior management and boards across diverse industries. Until this spring, he served as a Senior Partner & Vice President at IBM Consulting and most recently took the helm as the Global Salesforce Alliance Leader. With a focus on AI, platform-based transformation, and industry reinvention, Dr. Berman has been a pioneering force in encouraging brands to embrace AI and other emerging technologies for strategic advantage. Dr. Berman's talk focused on the imminent changes shaping the future of marketing and how technologies like AI can be leveraged for sustainable business value.

Futureproof Project Group Photo

His insights were particularly resonant given the cross-industry audience we had. The room was filled with senior leaders from a diverse array of brands including Mastercard, Novartis, LiveNation, Samsung, Signet Jewelers, Citi, Harvard University, Instalily, and Adorama. Each leader brought their unique perspectives and predictions, creating an invaluable mosaic of insights.

Futureproof Project Members
Futureproof Project Members
Futureproof Project Members

The community’s engagement with Dr. Berman's talk underscored the collective commitment to not just adapt, but to lead in an age of constant transformation. It was a remarkable evening that left us all energized and more importantly, future-proofed. We at Traction are elated by the success of the event and are eager to continue fostering such critical dialogues in the industry.

Futureproof Project Members

Key Takeaways

The discussion on Artificial Intelligence (AI) covered a wide range of topics, offering insights on the current trends and future impact of AI across various industries, particularly in marketing and technology. Here are some key takeaways from the executives that attended..

The Phases of AI Development

  • Paving the Way for Transformation: The initial wave of AI is characterized by experimentation and some disappointments. However, it is setting the groundwork for a subsequent transformative wave.
  • Timeline for Impact: Watson took a decade to significantly impact healthcare. Similarly, AI's transformative effects will take time to become apparent.

AI will affect almost every job, especially from a marketing technology standpoint. This makes data cleaning crucial today for leveraging AI effectively in the future.

The Impact on Industries

  • AI in Every Job: AI will affect almost every job, especially from a marketing technology standpoint. This makes data cleaning crucial today for leveraging AI effectively in the future.
  • Explosion of Content: In the short term, AI will enable the rapid creation of content, making it challenging to separate high-quality information from the noise.
  • Unforeseen Disruption: While content is the current focus, AI will automate low-value jobs and disrupt sectors we haven't yet considered, much like the iPhone did to alarm clocks.
Futureproof Project Members
Futureproof Project Members
Futureproof Project Members

The Human Element

  • AI as an Enhancer, Not Replacer: AI will be a tool that assists rather than replaces human roles, at least in the foreseeable future.
  • Societal Stratification: AI could exacerbate social inequality by deepening the divide between those who can and cannot leverage it effectively.

AI in Marketing

  • Personalization at Scale: Although highly desired, achieving personalization at scale with AI remains a complex challenge.
  • Technological Readiness: Most organizations are not yet prepared to implement AI in a practical, actionable way, despite its promise.

Future Visions

  • Mass Adoption: Even those who are skeptical or unaware of AI will inevitably end up using it as it becomes more integrated into our daily lives.
  • Speed and Scale: AI will eliminate time-consuming processes like focus groups, enabling quicker speed to market and empowering small businesses to compete globally.

Changing Objectives

  • Efficiency vs. Transformation: While the current focus is on making tasks more efficient and convenient, AI's most significant impact will likely transcend these goals.
  • Human Empowerment: AI will enable us to be our best selves, providing exponential growth in our capabilities as we share information more effectively.

Lighter Notes

  • Unexpected Innovation: The simplest, unexpected ideas in AI will often be the most revolutionary, leaving many asking, "Why didn't I think of that?"

By understanding these facets of AI's development and impact, we can better prepare for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. For all the predictions, there's one thing that's a certainty: if you don’t get your data in order today, you wont be able to leverage AI tomorrow. If you'd like to learn more about Traction's data strategy capabilities, .

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