Narrowing the gaps between digital skills

Digital AI
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Executive vice president for Microsoft Global Sales, Jean-Phillipe Courtois, delivers a keynote at the AI for Good global summit about the opportunity of AI.

Jean-Philippe Courtois is executive vice president and president for Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing & Operations. From cloud services to mixed reality and AI, Courtois is responsible for driving strategic planning, running global operations and shaping growth initiatives in developed and emerging markets.

At the AI for Good global summit, Courtois delivered a keynote entitled ‘Our AI Opportunity’, where SciTech Europa Quarterly were in attendance. Courtois began the keynote by stating the importance between AI technologies and innovation: “The drive of innovation, in my opinion, is really the concept behind every company and business becoming a software company. As a company, we have seen the technology industry brought to life; there are two main aspects of this – the massive adoption of AI technology, and the global marketplace. However, these two factors are not enough for an organisation to become digital. You have to bring to the field your own innovation.

“There are some very interesting ideas going around at the moment. This is demonstrated by AI currently being the biggest commercial technology innovation, with it contributing a gross profit of close to $16 trillion (~£131tr) —this is a pretty big deal and the way to scale this across the world is through the innovation that is happening in the world.”

Courtois then went on to address the issues of privacy: “Across the nation, they way we design software and cloud services, they are inspired by three national secrets: privacy, security and human rights. It is about putting the user (the citizen) at the centre of owning their data and deciding what you want to do with it; and then using the data to only improve this process if the user wants to achieve a certain level/type of security.

Preparing to tackle AI technologies

“When it comes to cyber security, there is a lot going on in the world. When you design social inclusiveness, you really need to think about the user scenarios. They need to make sure that they are respectful of including all the people who participate in trading, again. Otherwise, they begin to compensate for the opening of those principles, which the critical transparency is really about the way we really want to make the design available. With digital transformation, also comes the digital cultural space (in terms of the culture being about the people.) Therefore, the skills are really all about the way we think about the skills and education moving forward. We need to go out into social space and prepare those in existing jobs to tackle that if you will.

“Companies need to decide where they are going to be deeply committed to closing, and narrowing, the gaps between digital skills.

For example, last year, we began reaching out to 12 million users across the world. Using live sessions, we started to really encourage girls to be more secure online. Initiatives such as this are to enable education, as well as young leaders across the world – it is really about empowering people and enabling scenarios for them.”

To conclude his talk, Courtois said: “Despite this, I am aware that there is a lot more that we can do when you think about the core capabilities of AI. There are so many amazing things that AI can do for people. The goal as well is to really encourage people to go and invest alongside our really transforming the world. It is also important to remember that investments are also about sustainability. For example, there is is a company called ‘Sacrifice’, and they are using Microsoft to develop a reading fluency program for students with diverse learning. What’s unique about this, is that the technology uses custom speech models to understand children’s voices, and all the nuances of their speech. By one interaction with the child, the program can understand what they need to improve on; imagine all the genius kids that are currently without access to speech – this is life changing. Learning is not a one size fits all process. When you make it accessible and inclusive to kids with diverse conditions, you want to make it accessible and inclusive. We want to ensure that every child that has access to learning, has the opportunity to change the world. Today, we believe that all of us together, can really help solve some of the biggest societal challenges.”



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