Bio: Lauren Maffeo has reported on and worked within the global technology sector. She started her career as a freelance journalist covering tech trends for The Guardian and The Next Web from London. Today, she works as a senior content analyst at GetApp (a Gartner company), where she covers the impact of emerging tech like AI and blockchain on small and midsize business owners. Lauren’s research and writing have been cited by sources including Forbes, Fox Business, The Atlantic, and Inc.com. She has spoken at events including Gartner’s Symposium in Florida, The Global Talent Summit at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, Women Techmakers Montreal in Canada, and Mashable’s Social Media Day. In 2017, Lauren was named to The Drum’s 50 Under 30 list of women worth watching in digital. That same year, she helped organize Women Startup Challenge Europe, which was the continent’s largest venture capital competition for women-led startups.
Lauren Maffeo holds a certificate in Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. She has consulted and reported as a senior content analyst for GetApp, covering the influence of various emerging technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, on small to midsize businesses. Maffeo has extensively studied machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics.
Maffeo discusses how the perception of AI can sometimes be that it is a monolithic entity devoid of humanity, but in fact, AI has a significant swath of use cases that make it ideal for many human-powered, customer service oriented businesses. Maffeo states that AI is often best when introduced alongside human workers to enhance the overall workflow. Many businesses state that they simply don’t have the staffing necessary to implement AI projects, while others state that they have difficulty in defining their overall AI strategy. Still, other businesses state that they are unsure of how to get started with AI altogether. Ultimately, at current, AI is touted as a transformative tool, but hype aside, some businesses are simply struggling to understand how to best utilize it.
The technology consultant outlines some of the aspects of AI that will become more advanced and specialized in the coming years, such as AI’s social perception and context. While automation with AI will facilitate many industries, such as construction or other industrial types, Maffeo states that the perception of AI taking jobs from human workers is skewed. In fact, in many industries, it is a lack of available human workers that is spurring the advent of AI in certain workplaces.
Maffeo discusses the potential impediments to complete implementation of AI in a wider scope. Cost would be an issue, but even before the consideration of cost, there are some other issues to consider. The topic of ‘use cases,’ essentially knowing how AI can be used effectively, is a fundamental issue. The need for quality data scientists is also a critical issue—to regulate data in an AI system to ensure that it is healthy, unbiased data. Additionally, high-level architects that are capable of building networks become an issue simply because they are in demand but are not readily available.
Maffeo provides further insight into some of the areas of AI that will proliferate. Innovations in advanced AI such as chatbots will be a growing industry in the coming years. Predictions indicate that as many as 10% of new IT hires will be tasked with writing bot scripts as chatbots become ubiquitous in online commerce. Machine learning will allow chatbots to interface with customers at an advanced level as chatbots can access a wealth of data about the user. And although current data demonstrate that the majority of people prefer a human interaction, as AI refines the chatbot experience the expectation is that users will acclimate to the advancing technology.