Mobile World Congress 2018, Day 1: Mobile transformation, creativity and the ethics of AI

By Jasmine Henry

All eyes are on mobile transformation as the first day of Mobile World Congress 2018 (#MWC18) draws to a close. More than 108,000 technology pros and leaders are gathered in Barcelona to explore 2,300 booths, attend 100-plus engaging keynotes, workshops and sessions and congregate around the cutting-edge of mobile technology.

On the ground, key themes are emerging, including the new digital consumer experience, rapidly developing network technology and the fourth industrial revolution. There’s also a huge focus on applied artificial intelligence (AI), including the necessity of finding the balance between security, ethics and cognitive intelligence in the enterprise.

Transforming customer experiences with AI

Applied AI is no longer the future; it’s a strategic tool to create customer value through personalized engagement strategies, omnichannel experiences and more. “The world of mobile seems to be exploding in all of the right ways,” remarked VineSleuth Founder and CEO Amy Gross in a panel discussion titled “Transformation Field Guide.”

“We’ve seen an increase in the use of effective artificial intelligence, making lives better and creating — not taking away — jobs.”

While the robots may have arrived, IBM Watson CTO Rob High was clear that delivering transformative customer value requires organizations to consider an alternative definition of AI: “augmented intelligence” powered by the right data and used in the right contexts.

The best augmented customer experiences, per IBM Mobile VP Daniel Yellin, are real-time, personalized and delivered dynamically in context-rich mobile experiences.

Mobile transformation, disruption, and the Internet of Me

The enterprises on the forefront of mobile transformation are those pushing the envelope. Creativity and thinking big are the new recipe for survival, according to Arrow Electronics CDO Matt Anderson. “We as companies have to figure out how we construct a new nervous system of innovation.”

Pushing the envelope, for Anderson’s firm, meant creating a head-movement-controlled race car for 24-year-old quadriplegic Sam Schmidt. In the future, he predicts disruption could extend to an “Internet of Me,” or mobile technology integrated into human DNA.

AI is everywhere, and it’s time for ethical action

Between proliferating adoption of AI and the IoT and the impending May deadline to comply with the GDPR, there’s a significant focus on topics of data privacy and compliance at MWC 2018. IBM Executive Partner Jessica Douglas emphasized that the cultural shift many organizations are experiencing shouldn’t disappear once they’re compliant. Instead, a focus on data privacy is “fundamental in the future of the digital world: transparent, truthful and fair.”

In a workshop led by Douglas and IBM’s Jay Allen, attendees worked through the difference between compliance and ethical business. Ultimately, an ethical approach to client data requires making sure the customer consents to and is comfortable with your data practices.

While enterprises are grappling with immediate concerns about AI security and privacy, a panel discussion on ethics and responsibility called for enterprises to consider a lasting framework for responsible applied AI. As complex intelligent systems become a core component of the digital enterprise, panel experts agree ethical standards will become a necessity.

See what happened on day 2, day 3 and day 4.

Written By

Jasmine Henry

Jasmine E. Henry, MS

Jasmine is a commentator on emerging technology and freelance writer in the greater Seattle area. With a professional background in analytics, big data, mobility, and security that spans both the for-profit and government sectors, her professional interests include artificial intelligence…

Other Articles by Jasmine Henry
See All Posts