Digitalize and Automate 2023: It's a wrap! The fourth edition of Europe's #1 Virtual Service Management Event took place on September 19th at Flavourium Helsinki. With this year being special in various ways - over 1500 People gathered, virtually and - for the first time in Digitalize and Automate history - face to face. And that not only in Helsinki but also at roadshows in Frankfurt, Warsaw, and Stockholm.
As in previous years, Reidar Wasenius, Breaks Finland's Chief Creative Officer, passionately guided through the Helsinki event, presenting world-renowned speakers like Dr. Daniel Susskind, Amane Dannouni and Päivi Rekonen - all under the theme "Building organizations' superpowers in the time of AI revolution." A motto that brought together thought leaders, experts, and enthusiasts from the field of Service Management and beyond.
How it started
The day began with Niilo Fredrikson, CEO of Efecte, giving a resounding call to "Bring people across Europe together" towards a common goal. Efecte's mission is clear: to create a leading European alternative, spearheading the charge towards digitalization and automation in the workplace.
"Our job is to make this happen," affirmed the Efecte CEO, referring to Europe's current lag in digital transformation. To tackle this, solutions such as Efecte's AI innovations are needed. They are an important step on this path, also with regard to the pressing problems of our time - climate change, demographic change, war and inflation. For Niilo, there is no doubt that organizations which live with the slogan “digitalize & automate” can make a significant positive contribution to addressing these challenges and promoting a sustainable world.
By harnessing the potential of digitalization and automation, the profound impact of combined efforts is working towards a "digital paradise in Europe". This will enable us to align technology with European values. A vision that is within reach for Europe.
Building organizations' superpowers
Päivi Rekonen was next on stage. With many years of experience as a board member in several tech companies, she gave a presentation on what she called the state-of-the-nation, looking especially at the chances created through AI disruption and emphasizing the importance of responsible AI development.
She urged us to consider the lessons from history's "hype cycles" and emphasized the need for realignment. From both a client and industry perspective, she highlighted the vital role of AI in shaping the future. Drawing a parallel to Oppenheimer's moment, she reminded us that AI is a chain reaction, and it's our responsibility to govern and lead, ensuring it does no harm while embracing its immense potential. The creation of roles like the Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer reflects a concerted effort to align with standards, regulations, and culture, ultimately leading us towards a future where AI benefits all.
Päivi Rekonen's insightful presentation underscored the transformative potential of AI across various sectors. She reiterated the necessity of proactive measures to mitigate potential negative consequences and promote a future where AI contributes to a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous world. Her words resonated with the audience, inspiring a collective commitment to responsible AI advancement and ethical engagement.
The Future of Work
World-renowned author and economist Dr. Daniel Susskind delved into the compelling topic of the future of work in the era of AI, specifically examining its impact on both blue-collar and white-collar occupations. He highlighted the vulnerability of white-collar jobs to AI technology, raising questions about how these changes might affect the workforce and the most effective strategies for adaptation. Daniel emphasized that while blue-collar roles primarily involve routine tasks, AI's capacity for handling non-routine work poses a significant challenge to the traditional domains of white-collar jobs.
Reflecting on the history of AI, Daniel emphasized a critical shift in 1986, signaling the first wave of AI development in white-collar work. He cited notable instances like Garry Kasparov's loss to Deep Blue in 1997 as pivotal moments showcasing AI's growing capability in complex decision-making. The discussion led to the exploration of the "AI Fallacy", challenging the assumption that machines lack judgment. Daniel pointed out that machines can effectively handle uncertainty without human-like judgment, heralding the second wave of AI driven by generative capabilities.
He addressed concerns about the future, advocating for a response centered around training to equip individuals with the skills necessary to adapt. Dr. Susskind rejects mass unemployment, emphasizing the potential for mass reemployment through flexibility and adaptability in a changing landscape. An exciting glimpse into what the future may hold.
The Art of not losing track
Amane Dannouni, Managing Director & Partner at Boston Consulting Group, discussed the challenges of exponential technological growth, especially in generative AI. He highlighted how the operations required to train AI algorithms are doubling roughly every six months, making it difficult to keep up and predict the technology's trajectory accurately.
Amane also explained emergent abilities in AI, where algorithms with more computing power and data, perform unforeseen tasks. Generative AI was emphasized for its significant time savings and heightened productivity across diverse domains.
He then explored how Generative AI impacts technology functions, teams, operations, and the broader ecosystem. GenAI affects both software capabilities and individuals, necessitating skill evaluation and potential workforce shifts. Finally, Amane discussed the financial implications of GenAI, underlining the strategic decision organizations face in allocating saved costs for maintaining output or enhancing productivity and value.
Effie AI is here!
The final presenter to take the stage was Santeri Jussila, CPO at Efecte. He addressed a pressing issue within the industry: the rising amount of workload experienced by Service Desks, coupled with the heightened complexity of customer interactions. These factors have contributed to a notable increase in the actual cost per agent, posing a significant challenge.
In response to this challenge, Efecte has introduced a groundbreaking addition to their product family: Effie AI. This innovative solution has been meticulously crafted with the aim of providing comprehensive assistance to both end-users and service agents. Effie AI leverages cutting-edge technology to enable smarter working practices and the automation of routine tasks. Its introduction announces a transformative step forward in addressing the emerging demands and complexities faced by modern Service Desks.
Santeri has also announced the introduction of additional features, such as the incorporation of a fuzzy search functionality and the introduction of a dark mode within the new agent user interface.
To conclude a day of enlightening speakers Niilo Fredrikson held a fireside panel with Päivi Rekonen, Dr. Daniel Susskind and Marcin Strzalkowski, CMO at Efecte (former CEO of InteliWise).
During this engaging panel discussion, the participants delved into the question whether to adapt an optimistic or realistic perspective concerning the advancements in AI technology. In particular did Marcin Strzalkowski underscore the importance for caution when addressing this issue, especially in light of the younger generation's entry into the job market and the changes they will experience.
Ethical and moral considerations were also addressed during the discussion, along with the importance of cultivating a forward-thinking mindset. Such a mindset would not only facilitate the integration of AI but also enhance its corporation into existing processes and skill sets over time.
In conclusion, the panelists stressed that starting the AI journey may seem daunting, but with continuous learning and gradual steps, it becomes more manageable - an essential step in adapting to our increasingly digitalized and automated world.
The Digitalize and Automate 2023 was a fantastic event. We have been eagerly waiting for this to be face-to-face, and it certainly did not disappoint. The speakers shared valuable and informative insights, and the after party was filled with fascinating conversations. It was a day full of innovation.
With this, we are looking forward to the Digitalize and Automate 2024!
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