"Leading in an AI-powered world": Roundtable concludes EDHEC Global MBA flagship event
On January 11, 2024, the EDHEC Global MBA cohort, representing 30 nationalities, gathered in Paris for an 8 hour Hackathon with corporate partners from different industries, followed by a round-table entitled “Leading in an AI-powered world”, and a networking cocktail.
An exciting Hackathon
Eight corporate partners took part in the all-day Global MBA Hackathon, bringing eight real-life cases for the participants to work on. Companies from numerous industries were represented: Michelin, delaware, Capgemini Invent, Bristol Myers Squibb, BWH Hotel Group, AXA Investment Managers, ServiceNow, and AML Factory.
The EDHEC GMBA is a world-renowned programme, providing participants with a comprehensive understanding of international business dynamics. It enables them to hone their business and leadership skills effectively, while reinforcing their professional networks, and benefitting from numerous events and conferences to enhance their expertise.
Ethics, Leadership, CSR…: Insights from the AI Roundtable
In a dynamic roundtable discussion, three different voices in the field — Samir Abbassi of Thales, Qunkai (Kevin) Liu from Cyclone Robotics, and Vincent Perrin of IBM — shared their perspectives on the intersection of artificial intelligence and dimensions such as ethics, tech, leadership, and CSR. Moderated by Kymberli Stewart from IQVIA, the session delved into pressing issues surrounding AI and its transformative impact on firms – internally and for their stakeholders.
AI & Ethics: A Symbiotic Relationship?
Addressing the first question on the relationship between AI and ethics, Kevin Liu underlined the interconnectedness of the two. He stressed the importance of transparency at multiple levels, from leadership to technical implementation, ensuring that AI aligns with ethical considerations. He advocated for a comprehensive approach, including a code of conduct akin to data and cloud issues, while also underlining the significance of diversity and inclusion.
Samir Abbassi, of Thales, shed light on the challenge of maintaining fairness in AI outcomes. He emphasised the need for transparent, explainable AI, and the difficulty in capturing biases across economic, social, ethnic, and age dimensions. Abbassi advocated for a human-centred, gradual and humble approach, where different models are different models are tested, assessed, challenged and frameworks are implemented to control biases.
Leadership and Adaptation to AI's Transformative Impact
Vincent Perrin, from IBM, tackled the concern of job displacement due to AI. He urged leaders to demonstrate that embracing AI is essential for competitiveness and productivity enhancement. Perrin highlighted the need for a proactive approach, encouraging teams to adapt, learn, and embrace new technologies. He suggested that, in the evolving landscape, leaders should position themselves to leverage AI, ensuring a balance between ethics and safe adoption.
All the speakers, including the moderator, Kymberli Stewart, underlined the importance of open-mindedness and continuous learning (and thanks to AI, we can learn fast!), as boundaries between jobs become fuzzier in the coming years – with many new jobs likely to emerge.
Overcoming Implementation Challenges
Samir Abbassi addressed the challenge of implementing AI in traditionally non-tech-savvy industries. He emphasised the need for a strong foundation of understanding AI at all organisational levels, advocating for communication and diversity in customer handling. Abbassi suggested having independent labs or departments to help tackle the subject, spread the right mindsets, support in deployment and adoption, and demonstrating competency to manage potential risks.
Vincent Perrin of IBM stressed the importance of a growth mindset in viewing technology as an enabler, highlighting the need for transparency in AI processes, understanding IT, and considering the environmental costs of AI implementation. He raised concerns about potential blackouts in some countries to sustain AI usage and highlighted the transformative nature of AI, cautioning about the critical need for trust in successful project outcomes.
Meanwhile, Qunkai (Kevin) Liu advocates for a hands-on approach, urging business technologists to engage closely with IT, understand the direction of AI implementation, and start small to test, learn, and adapt. His insights highlight the significance of an iterative and risk-reducing strategy in navigating the evolving landscape of AI technology.
The speakers concluded with a Q&A session, addressing questions on intellectual property; questions of data ownership between users and AI firms; leadership skills; and guidance for regulators. Indeed, this last issue appeared as a common thread among the speakers, as regulation is key to help the actors navigating, establishing boundaries, without limiting the power of innovation.