AI Arrives! BCW Launches Bold New Initiative
The Business Council of Westchester began a yearlong focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) with a panel discussion on the technology’s promise.
A standing-room-only crowd of BCW members filled the Richard A. Berman Student Center at Manhattanville College on January 30 to hear about the latest developments in AI from experts whose companies are pioneering uses for the technology. With AI’s possibilities yet to be defined, the Business Council of Westchester launched AI Alliance 360°, a year of programming devoted to helping members prepare for the opportunities that await in this latest technological revolution.
“Artificial intelligence is an economic force which has been called at the same time disruptive, transformative, exciting and petrifying,” said BCW president and CEO Marsha Gordon, who moderated the panel. “We are at a point where technology and humanity are intersecting, and that will affect the world, our businesses, and our organizations.”
The inaugural event, AI Unveiled: Understanding and Navigating the Future of Intelligent Systems featured a coffee chat with Bargav Balakrishnan, VP of Industry Modernization at IBM, and Abdul Shaik, Executive Director of Data Engineering—Information Systems and Technologies at Regeneron. Nikhil Jagga, President of CMIT Solutions followed the coffee chat with a Decoding AI Workshop.
Balakrishnan reminded the group that large financial institutions have already deployed AI for years with tasks like fraud detection. Leveraging AI’s new powers will require improved skill sets that many organizations do not have.
“There is a fundamental retraining, reskilling, upskilling—whatever you want to call it—of everybody…This is no different to some extent to 2007 when the smart phones came out,” said Balakrishnan. He added, “2023 was the year to ask questions and 2024 is the year of implementation.”
Shaik said AI’s promise is its accessibility. The speakers noted that the AI tool ChatGPT signed up millions of users on the first day of its release.
“You don’t need data scientists in your organization to adapt this technology. You don’t need coders,” said Shaik, noting the ease of use of Microsoft Copilot. “You will do the same things you do today, but you do it better. You can create your presentation better.”
During his presentation, Jagga urged attendees to develop strategies for finding value in AI. He offered practical tips for ChatGPT that help overcome common impediments to productivity like writer’s block.
“If you have trouble starting writing, you can start with AI,” said Jagga.
AI Alliance 360° will explore the technology’s many implications with the goal of helping BCW members understand how they can adapt to and leverage AI’s power. Key events throughout the year include:
- AI in Professional Services: Innovation and Integration
- Healing Horizons: Navigating AI in Healthcare’s Transformative Technologies
- FutureEd: Harnessing the Power of AI in Academic Innovation
- Securing Tomorrow: AI in Cybersecurity and Technology
- AI Unleashed: Smart Insights and Innovations to Transforming Marketing Strategies
Through the AI Alliance 360° programming, the BCW aims to increase awareness of AI and its role in the future.
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