This morning saw a filled Stockholm Main hub with around 200 external guests participating in the Kindred and BreakIT collaborative meetup around the tech trends for the coming year. On stage Swedish IT-Woman of the Year, Carolin Solskär, held a presentation about her sightings followed by a panel discussion with Kindred Head of Development Sören Thörnlund, amongst others.
The meetup this Thursday was one of two arrangements in collaboration with the Swedish digital IT-magazine Breakit, and part of a long term branding collaboration that has been ongoing the entire year. This first event revolved around tech trends for the coming year and external speaker Carolin Solskär, awarded IT-Woman of the Year by CGI, listed the areas she saw most potential in. She pointed out that we live in an unpredictable technological environment where a lot of new things become blasé before they even reach the market, whereas other things are being talked about for ages without anything actually happening.
– It's also worth noting that a lot of the innovative technologies we speak about today has a long scope before they will reach the consumer market. Still, a lot of companies are using the terms to spice up their offerings. An investigation into companies claiming to use AI in their product or service showed that as many as 40 percent actually didn't, but they still chose to market themselves that way because companies working with AI generally receives up to 15 percent more funding.
Carolin listed hyperautomation, multiexperience, human augmentation, autonomous things, transparency & traceability as the top areas to keep an eye on in the coming year. However, as a counterpart she also mentioned AI security as something quickly becoming more and more important.
– We are facing somewhat of a confidence crisis right now. We are talking about how our data is floating around in cyberspace and most people are quite unsure what big companies actually are doing with all our data. I think it's becoming very important to clearly communicate how it's being handled. AI puts a new layer of discomfort on top of this as well, since most people doesn't really understand what it is. For 2020 it is predicted that companies who can create digital trust will increase their sales with 20 percent compared to companies who can't.
Besides Carolin, the following panel talk featured a discussion between Fredrik Hammargården, Paulina Modlitba and our own Kindred Head of Development, Sören Thörnlund. One over-arching theme the panel was generally aligned on was how new companies should approach AI implementation.
– Something I usually mention when it comes to Automation and AI is the importance of knowing what you're actually using it for, says Paulina Modlitba, Expert on digitalization. It's quite common that those wanting to implement it doesn't really know how and what tasks to divide between human and machine. I think we need to talk about what AI really is because even though it's a hype at the moment a lot of people are afraid of touching it. It's important to remember that you can start off small.
– I think you must first understand what it is you want to achieve with it, says Carolin. It's easy to get in on the hype but the dream about how this fantastic technology is going to save the company doesn't hold up. You create a huge project which becomes hard to manage and eventually you won't get everyone onboard in the implementation.
Sören agreed and said that you need to find a measurable business value before you implement new technology.
– Find something you want to improve, build an idea around it and start off small. Measure the results.
Another topic was how to approach innovation from the perspective of responsibility.
– I work with facial recognition technology and we are noticing a huge privacy movement that is forming around these topics, says Fredrik Hammargården, Expert on facial recognition. If every camera in society could recognize your face it could lead to universal changes in our behaviours in a way we can't foresee. Technology will always come before legislations so it's not about what we can do but about what we should do. The preparation an implementation of GDPR is a good example to look at to see what companies were ahead in development.
– To me it's a lot about relevancy, says Sören. As a customer you'll find it very intrusive if the information you're being fed is irrelevant. If you enforce privacy too much you'll lose the opportunities where you'll actually create improvement. If an online food store has my information when I'm buying food, the process is faster and simplifies my life. Or what if an employer already had the information about applicants and could contact those looking for jobs instead of applications being send left and right blindly?
The discussion ended with the panel's own tech trend sightings. Everyone agreed with Sören's prediction that voice will become bigger and bigger as the next generation grows up.
– Kids growing up today haven't lived in a world without voice recognition technology, where you're not talking to your computer. The consumers of tomorrow will demand a completely different interaction with technology.