The struggle to implement AI during digital transformation
Digital transformation is a multifaceted beast. While the implementation of more bog-standard items like ERP systems are well understood and fairly easily achieved, where does the enterprise stand when implementing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning?
Such concerns are leading governments to increasingly step in. One of the major perils lies in overreaching; in implementing too much, too fast and being left with solutions for problems that don’t exist.
Helpfully, analytics firm EXL released its ‘best practices for orchestrating AI solutions’ white paper in November 2019, which recommended a number of methods to best implement AI, including a four stage process. The four, from first to last are: ‘envision and define’; ‘solution orchestration’; ‘operationalization’; and ‘shaping and scaling for the future’.
Succinctly, the first step involves identifying and limiting the scope of any implementation, with the report reading: “Long-term AI strategies are vital, but, the best results come from narrowing that vision so execution can occur in an iterative, agile manner.”
The second involves identifying the ‘real-world factors’ that could have a potential impact on the implementation: existing infrastructure, the state of data and the talent present at the company.
Third is related to properly rolling it out across the enterprise, what the report terms as ensuring “[the solution] solves the business problem or delivers the desired outcomes.” That includes determining the method of execution, ensuring change management procedures are in place and identifying areas where the solution can be reused with minimal alteration.
The final stage, meanwhile, is about continually evolving the AI strategy with an eye to the future, to avoid being left behind; as the report reads: “Organizations should continually evaluate what they want their operations to look like in the future, and how they can leverage their existing AI investment to shape and scale for that vision.”
Whether enterprises will heed such suggestions is yet to be seen. What is certain, however, is that, as as the technology becomes more realistically understood, 2020 represents something of a reckoning for the relationship of AI and business, as a PwC report outlined.
Discord buys Sentropy to fight against hate and abuse online
Discord, a popular chat app, has acquired the software company Sentropy to bolster its efforts to combat online abuse and harassment. Sentropy, monitors online networks for abuse and harassment, then offers users a way to block problematic people and filter out messages they don’t want to see.
First launched in 2015 and currently boasting 150 million monthly active users, Discord plans to integrate Sentropy’s own products into its existing toolkit and the company will also bring the smaller company’s leadership group aboard. Discord currently uses a “multilevel” approach to moderation, and a Trust and Safety (T&S) team dedicated to protecting users and shaping content moderation policies comprised 15% of Discord’s workforce as of May 2020.
“T&S tech and processes should not be used as a competitive advantage,” Sentropy CEO John Redgrave said in a blog post on the announcement. “We all deserve digital and physical safety, and moderators deserve better tooling to help them do one of the hardest jobs online more effectively and with fewer harmful impacts.”
Cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse
Redgrave elaborated on the company’s natural connection with Discord: “Discord represents the next generation of social companies — a generation where users are not the product to be sold, but the engine of connectivity, creativity, and growth. In this model, user privacy and user safety are essential product features, not an afterthought. The success of this model depends upon building next-generation Trust and Safety into every product. We don’t take this responsibility lightly and are humbled to work at the scale of Discord and with Discord’s resources to increase the depth of our impact.”
Sentropy launched out of stealth last summer with an AI system designed to detect, track and cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse. The company emerged then with $13 million in funding from notable backers including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his VC firm Initialized Capital, King River Capital, Horizons Ventures and Playground Global.
“We are excited to help Discord decide how we can most effectively share with the rest of the Internet the best practices, technology, and tools that we’ve developed to protect our own communities,” Redgrave said.