Neoris rethinks Artificial Intelligence

Latin Trade speaks to Anthony DeLima, CTO & Head of Digital Transformation at NEORIS (a Miami-based global consultancy for digitally aspirational companies), on how AI is reshaping business and humanity today, and will continue to do so in the future.

Imagine a future dominated by intelligent machines. To some, a scary scenario that could even lead to the very disappearance of humanity. But that is not how DeLima envisions the future.

“That way of thinking is extreme, but we definitely must open our eyes to the realities of AI,” he says to underline the fact that AI will increase its importance in our daily lives. “Think about the impact of AI in the last two years, in our cars or phones for example, and now realize that AI will evolve and impact us even more in two years,” DeLima adds, emphasizing that AI is growing at an exponential rate.

Further, DeLima believes that we are quickly approaching an era where technology and human intelligence merge. The expert notes that while the concept of AI began to be discussed in the mid-1950s, recent radical advances (which include the development of AI that no longer depends on human instruction, but on reinforced learning, and computers that are faster and smarter than humans) augur that AI could reach human-level intelligence by 2040. “This will open the way to the next stage in humanity’s evolution.”

The impact on business

Faced with this reality and its potential, companies are already investing billions in AI. The financial sector, the health industry and manufacturing appear to be the areas impacted the most, though DeLima assures that “there is no industry that does not have the [potential to benefit from the] opportunities generated by AI”.

Indeed, financial services providers are using AI to enhance customer experience by offering products and services based on the information gathered on individual payments and purchasing preferences, for example. DeLima also notes the tremendous potential of AI in genetics engineering. “AI is forcing us to pass beyond the limits of biology,” he said.

But it is in the manufacturing industry where the expert sees potentially bigger changes. While more robots will eventually replace human labor, the combination of AI, Internet of Things and 3D-manufacturing “is already allowing consumers to directly intervene in the design of processes and products”.

AI in Latin America

“In terms of AI, Latin America lags behind a year or two compared to developments in the world,” DeLima believes. He points out that the region is focused on what the jargon dubs narrow AI, characterized by the use of artificial intelligence principally in the financial sector in processes such as onboarding of clients, client profiling and fraud detection. “But when you compare the share of startups in AI in Latin America to those in leading countries like China, the U.S. and Israel, it is a very small number,” DeLima underlines.

The expert recommends companies in Latin America to adopt AI, and digital transformation in general, by starting with small projects. “The era of big mammoth projects is gone,” DeLima says, adding that “companies that are successful (in digital transformation) are implementing projects with very specific applications that can demonstrate value. Once value is demonstrated you can undertake the bigger projects and create full products and services”.

David Ramirez reported from Miami.