• Stephanie Lin

How to use AI to free yourself from busyness during the economic downturn, with Kevin Pereira





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The Covid-19 Pandemic may be stressful for people. Companies either shut down or retrench their employees, many workers struggle to find a new job during this difficult time.

So what are the solutions and tools to improve your business outcomes? How do you turn your bad luck into a learning opportunity to better prepare yourself for the future?

In this week’s episode of The Stephanie Show, I interviewed Kevin Pereira, managing director of Blu Ltd, and he had great advice on how to use AI to free yourself from busyness during the economic downturn in the time of pandemic.

By the way! To receive Kevin’s exclusive tips that were not shared in this article and tips from other experts in your own email inbox, be sure to sign up right here.


Here are Kevin’s top tips:

What are some of the industries that could obtain an immediate benefit from AI right now to reduce costs and risks? Please provide some use cases.

Healthcare tops the list and one application that will lead to lower costs and higher accuracy are innovations being made in diagnosis. Using neural networks and machine learning with image scans, we’re seeing better diagnosis in the area of cancer. In breast cancer for example, there is both a high quantity of scans and a time series, which can lead to better diagnosis today, but also predictions for the future. It would be part of a broader shift where healthcare moves from being reactive to proactive. Given the current COVID environment, remote medicine and diagnosis is another area where a lot of AI being used. People nowadays are afraid of going to hospitals for risk of infection, so if you can be diagnosed remotely, that can be safer for both patients and hospital staff.

Law is another area for AI to dramatically reduce costs. AI tends to be good at doing very structured routine tasks very well, and automated contract review using Natural Language Processing (NLP) is effective. A startup called LawGeex recently hit 94% accuracy in NDA review vs. 85% for human lawyers. In terms of time, their AI tool took 26 seconds to review NDA vs. 51 minutes for the human. Not all lawyers will be replaced tomorrow, but certain aspects of what they do can be automated to leave them available to do higher value tasks.

For professionals/entrepreneurs in International Business & E-commerce, what are some of the AI tools they can use to improve their business operations and outcomes?


One of the myths about AI is that everything can be automated. Generally it’s the mundane and routine tasks that fall in this ‘automatable’ category. Professionals/entrepreneurs have to deal with scheduling meetings all the time. There’s a scheduling AI called x.ai that automates meeting scheduling and interacts directly with your meeting counterpart over email. Once you set the parameters (which days you’re free, your favorite coffee shop, your office address etc.), x.ai will take care of all the correspondence for you. All you need to do is pay attention to your calendar and everything will be updated there. Use cases like these would be good candidates for AI.


Demand in AI talents. What are some of the trends in recruiting AI talents?


AI engineers & data scientists are currently in high demand as firms build AI. We will start to see specializations within Data Science. Machine Learning engineers for example, will become even more popular as companies start to use ML more. Now another important trend is that AI will require more than just technical expertise. There will also soon be high demand for mid-senior business staff with AI awareness. Companies that implement AI to grow a business, will require business leaders that are conversant with technology. McKinsey recently came out with a term called ‘business translators’ who have both technology and business skillsets. These business translators of the future would be able to:


· Identify AI use cases that solve business problems

· Manage AI projects

· Oversee technical staff so that AI products meet business needs

· Spearhead AI adoption initiatives: staff training, workflow redesign, change management

· Obtain stakeholder buy-in for AI tools

Many professionals are facing career transitions right now, what can they learn to prepare for the future of AI? Can you recommend some courses for beginners?


Based on AI’s capabilities today, a lot of work will be done by AI and humans together. It’ll be more about augmentation rather than substitution. Furthermore, we should think about automation not as job automation but rather task automation. Certain tasks of your job can be automated, but others can’t. Organizations will have to figure out with respect to their human capital (e.g. add more tasks to a job or get human to concentrate on those hard to automate tasks).


For all professionals, it’s important to start working on those skills that are hard to automate (critical thinking, storytelling, creativity etc.).

In terms of preparing yourself for AI specifically, learn about how AI is being used in your industry of choice. Listen to what business media and CEOs are saying about how AI is being adopted in that industry, and keep tabs on AI start-ups that raise venture capital money for products and business use cases that will impact your industry’s jobs. CB Insights has a good tracker. Also within your firm, stay aware of what’s happening in terms of innovation.


AI for Everyone’ on Coursera is a video based course and takes a few days to complete. It’s free to learn and $49 for a certificate. It’s a non-technical intro to AI within the context of different business uses and is taught by Andrew Ng, the AI researcher who ran Google Brain, among other ventures.

Please give me a real example of using AI that has significantly improved your life and productivity.


As I have had the privilege of working and travelling to many countries, Google translate (especially where you can use your camera to translate using augmented reality) has been a life saver. I’ve been able to read menus, understand road signs and talk to people in different languages. It’s not perfect grammar but it really helps communication. And for someone who works with people from all over the world, when you make an effort to relate to them in their own language, it creates really good rapport and most importantly, they really appreciate you trying.


Additional resources :


Book " AI Superpower: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order " by Kai-Fu Lee


Listen to the episode "How AI will change our life and career", with AI expert Roger Vandomme


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© 2019 by Stephanie Lin