AI is the New BI

Nov 10 2017
Written by NYU Shanghai


“When will artificial intelligence (AI) and robots replace us all?” Lithium’s Chief Scientist Michael Wu posed the question in a talk on Tuesday, advising companies to embrace digital transformation and prepare for an AI revolution.

The lecture was co-sponsored by the Center for Business Education and Research (CBER) and the Center for Data Science and Analytics. Introduced by Prof. Chen Yuxin, Dean of Business,  Dr. Wu gave an overview of the recent, rapid development of AI .

He invited business owners to foster trust in AI and take advantage of its benefits, citing the example of WAZE -- a navigation app which adopts real-time data and user-submitted route details to recommend optimized directions, even if “at times it might looks like a very strange recommendation”.

“Recently, AI has been over-fantasized by the entertainment industry, leading to unwarranted fears among the public, discouraging businesses from embracing AI to power their Business Intelligence (BI) platforms,” Dr. Wu noted.



Dr. Wu also called on businesses to digitize their communications and operations to leverage AI’s strengths. “The process of business transformation is always slow and challenging. A large number of companies will fail,” said Dr. Wu, adding that the average company lifespan on S&P 500 index had plunged from 60 years in 1960s to only 20 years in 2010s.

Dr. Wu has received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley’s Biophysics program, focusing on developing predictive and prescriptive algorithms to extract insights from social big data. His research includes customer experience, online influence, gamification, digital transformation and AI.

Noting that human beings today enjoy a relatively short attention span, Dr. Wu pointed out that designing a unique customer experience has become essential for businesses to differentiate themselves and compete effectively.

“Businesses should make good use of AI, especially big data, to better understand their customers and deliver better service experiences to them,” said Dr. Wu, “After all, the best customer experience is personalization.”