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Innovation Conversation: The New Frontier

Artificial Intelligence is rapidly expanding into new areas, from healthcare to smart virtual assistants and from self-driving cars to checkout-free shopping. And Generative AI, which creates new ideas and content, is the fastest-adopted technology ever: ChatGPT had over one million users in just five days.

“Generative AI is perfect for tasks that would take a long time, but can be verified very quickly,” Timo Elliott, SAP’s Innovation Evangelist, explains. “For example, it would take me a long time to create digital art, but I can use tools like Midjourney and DALL-E to turn a text description into an impressive image in just seconds, and if it’s not what I want, I can just try again. And these tools are impressive helpers for software developers—again it would take me a long time to code something, but the new algorithms can generate something based on my inputs in seconds and I can quickly test if it does what I want it to.”

Timo says that there’s a lot of AI FOMO (fear of missing out) in the market right now – organisations are worried about missing out on the changing market landscape, but also wary of the new risks, such as AI “hallucinations” where the algorithms confidently and convincingly give the wrong information.

He says that faced with these new possibilities, it’s time for businesses everywhere to take a step back, recalibrate, and rethink roles and processes. Some of the work we do can now be automated and will be a lot less valuable than before. But on the other hand, there will be areas where AI can help us become vastly more productive.

“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers,” Pablo Picasso

And a lot of these new areas will be focused on uniquely human capabilities, says Timo. “For example, only humans can understand the context of what’s going on in a business, what should be fixed, and understand why one answer is better than another. Like every new technology before it, AI will ultimately only ever be a tool – albeit a very powerful one – that we can all use to create more value.”

His final advice to businesses is that “we’re currently in the ‘horseless carriage’ phase of AI, where people are bolting on the new technology to old ways of working”. He believes that it’s time for organisations to evaluate entirely new end-to-end approaches — and that by working together, the SAP ecosystem of customers and partners has a big opportunity to accelerate that discovery.

Meet T.O.M.

SAP partner Merlynn Intelligence Technologies developed the Tacit Object Modelling system (TOM), after spotting a gap in the AI market for technology that could replicate tacit decisions that humans make within a business process.

They had seen that in a typical automation journey, there would be some terminal note along the way which would need to be handed off to a human because there’s uncertainty around the decision. Merlyn started investigating whether there was a way to create a technology that could replicate human decision-making.

Find out how they did that and the results in this video interview here.

SAP and Microsoft Create Joint AI Tech:

At Sapphire 2023, SAP and Microsoft announced a new collaboration that will see SAP SuccessFactors integrated with Microsoft 365 Co-pilot and Co-pilot in Viva Learning.

This, in conjunction with Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service, will allow access to powerful language models that analyse and generate natural language. In turn, this will create new experiences all designed to improve how companies and organisations attract, retain, and train their people.

Read more about how and why here.
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