November 24th 2020

Artificial Intelligence in Business - Artificial Intelligence as Business

MCI Livetalk with Anastassia Lauterbach, Entrepreneur, Multi Board Member, Expert in Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity, London & Germany


Anastassia Lauterbach in dialogue with MCI-Rector Andreas Altmann. Foto:MCI
Anastassia Lauterbach in dialogue with MCI-Rector Andreas Altmann. Foto:MCI

A native Russian, Lauterbach came to Europe as an economic migrant with degrees in linguistics, Slavic studies and psychology, as well as speaking six languages. Lauterbach explains that she never took a strategic approach to her career, but was strongly influenced by people she worked with, including Apple founder Steve Jobs. Working interdisciplinary, meaning across departments, was also one of the best opportunities she had and took advantage of. In this context, Lauterbach emphasizes: "Education in schools and university is different from lifelong learning. Students are currently receiving an education, but lifelong learning needs to be is their own business".

Artificial intelligence in industry - opportunities and risks

Thus Lauterbach took a detour to her research focus on artificial intelligence (AI). She emphasizes that artificial intelligence is nothing else but fundamental research in mathematics from the 30s and 40s, which is now used in applied research.

Artificial intelligence can be found in pretty much every occupation. Companies use artificial intelligence for forecasting, optimizing processes or building robots to compensate for the prevailing lack of skilled workers. Interesting examples for the corporate world can be found in medical institutions, for example. In Japan, for example, people are already being cared for by robots. In the Silicon Valley, people even went so far as to disguise these robots as teddy bears. These developments offer opportunities for the overburdened healthcare system - but these should be taken with a grain of salt.

Because artificial intelligence also holds many risks. As an example, Lauterbach mentions that in California, machines are designed to make legal verdicts. Therefore, it can happen that a person is found guilty just because he or she lives in a district where there is a high crime rate.

Lauterbach is also critical of the creation of international data generation. For example, the health care system in China is emerging as the market leader, generating vast amounts of data that are still missing in Europe. But can this data from China also be used in Europe? Or are there too many differences in genetics, environmental influences, etc.?

Here it quickly becomes clear that ethics play a major role in the application of AI. However, finding a global solution turns out to be difficult, because much of what is considered ethically correct in Europe has no meaning in Asia and vice versa. Therefore, ethics cannot work without a temporal and geographical reference.

"Technology without human intelligence is impossible"

Lauterbach emphasizes this again and again. The system is too error-prone. Because in the end, AI is just mathematics. Human intelligence is missing in AI, especially in the interpretation of data. In this context, Lauterbach quotes Picasso: "Computers are absolutely stupid, because they only give answers". In support of this statement, Lauterbach tells an anecdote: she took a picture of four seagulls in a parking lot. Coincidentally, the seagulls were sitting on the lines of the parking lots. Lauterbach entered this picture into a computer and asked about the probability of where the fifth seagull, which was currently approaching the lot, would land. The computer calculated an exact answer. But the fact is that we cannot know where the seagull will land. So it becomes clear that AI needs human intelligence to interpret the results.

Europe and artificial intelligence

The so-called 'big players' of AI like Amazon, Google or WeChat are currently located in the USA and China. But how is Europe positioning itself? Lauterbach recommends not copying the big players like Amazon and Google, but concentrating on current gaps that still exist in the market. For example, she sees scope for making data volumes available to SMEs. After all, smaller companies often feel left out and do not know how they can keep up with the competition today. Lauterbach recommends entrepreneurs to think in a networked way. What do you want to achieve by using artificial intelligence and data? What problems do you want to solve? Europe could offer creative solutions here, as long as we think ahead.

Lauterbach sees a further area of action for the EU in bringing technology and data literacy more into schools. Nowadays, every entrepreneur can read a financial report, but reading an open source report, people quickly turn desperate. Here, the EU could chime in.

Mag. Bettina Stichauner | Head Alumni Center Alumni & Friends
Mag. Bettina Stichauner Head Alumni Center +43 512 2070 - 1700
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