Interviews

Nothing remains the way it is - How the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain radically change our lives

Karl-Heinz Land, Digital Darwinist, Evangelist and founder of strategy consulting neuland

Digitization does not change anything, just everything

Biography:
Digital Darwinist, Evangelist and founder of strategy consulting neuland. In 2006, Karl-Heinz Land received the "World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Award" (WEF & Time Magazine), and co-authored the bestselling “Digitaler Darwinismus – Der stille Angriff auf Ihr Geschäftsmodell und Ihre Marke” ("Digital Darwinism - The Silent Attack on Your Business Model and Your Brand") and  „Dematerialisierung – Die Neuverteilung der Welt in Zeiten des Digitalen Darwinismus“ ("Dematerialization - The Redistribution the world in times of the digital Darwinism "). He is regarded as a visionary and advises companies in matters of digital transformation with a focus on business models, e-commerce, cloud, mobility, IoT, big data.

Mr. Land, the talk you will be giving at Innovative 2018, is "Nothing Remains the Way It Is - How the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain radically change our lives." What exactly changes and for whom?

Smart assistance systems like Alexa or Cortana are currently conquering the world. We can talk to these computers and they help us find information. Much has changed in our working world as well. Machines today talk with machines, cars with workshops, industries with other industries. Everything is interconnected. This creates an incredible amount of data. But to handle this unprecedented flood of data, we need mechanisms that sort all the information. This succeeds with Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI will henceforth play a role in everything we know in the future. It does not matter if software detection or in the smart home, in the autonomous car or in the parcel service, which tracks packages - in all processes AI runs in the background. I call this the General Purpose Application. So the intelligent algorithms get into every software we can imagine. AI will radically change our lives and our working environment.

Where does AI become most visible in the workplace?

AI will help companies automate processes in the first place. Both in industry, as well as in the economy. In addition to automation, the smart technology can also indicate deviations, for example in fraud detection. This makes it possible to detect fraud or fraud attempts faster. That's why AI is also very important in the field of security. By quickly identifying anomalies in processes or systems, damage can be better prevented or minimized. But it is also important to derive trends - such as purchasing behavior, product and market trends - from intelligent algorithms in business use. Humans can only very slowly or not at all recognize such relationships or prognoses without mechanical support.

Is there something that remains the same or unchanged in the digital age?

Not really. The only thing that is stable is change - and this change will happen faster and faster. For companies, that means they have to adapt to these changes even faster.

It is the permanent job of every business to stay competitive and create value for its customers. How can companies succeed in the face of increasing digital demands?

First and foremost, companies need to be aware of what's happening in their industry in terms of digitization. This includes learning about the opportunities and, above all, the risks of new digital trends. Businesses need to ask themselves: what do we need to do to continue developing services and products that add value to our customers? The customer and his needs should definitely be in the foreground.

How can companies benefit from the use of Artificial Intelligence? What must they do to use the technology successfully?

Businesses should first of all ask themselves the fundamental question: In which areas are we digitizing? And where does data come from? Because data is the footprint in the digital age. They reveal trends and deviations, both in terms of customers, but also in terms of products and markets.

However, as the volume of data increases exponentially and to keep track, companies need to resort to intelligent algorithms in the form of machine learning (ML) or AI. Companies should therefore make ML a strategic tool. So you have to think about how to integrate AI into your systems and evaluate the increasing volumes of data.

In your books you describe the triumph of the digital. In your opinion, what should traditional companies do in order not to be left behind by better digitized competitors? And how much time do they have left to catch up?

I always say: digitization does not change anything, just everything. It is changing the way customers become aware of companies, how they communicate, how they collaborate, how we collaborate, how we communicate and organize. Hierarchies break up into network organizations. If companies want to differentiate themselves, their only chance is to understand and follow these digital developments. They have to think for themselves about their hierarchy and their network and about how they can make meaningful use of digitization in our economy. But, frankly, they do not have much time left. Anyone who thinks about whether they need a digital strategy now may be too late for that. Because the competition does not sleep. Most other companies have already defined a strategy - perhaps not perfect, but they have one.