• Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

VB Transform: Navigating the generative AI wave, insights from top executives at major corporations


May 26, 2023


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In recent days, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with top executives from enterprise giants like Mastercard, Citi, Verizon, Intuit and Wayfair. Their verdict is unanimous: Generative AI, the technology that can generate conversation mimicking humans at an unprecedented level, is the most powerful trend this year.

Late last year, OpenAI’s GPT-4 entered the market, and now, similar offerings are emerging from companies like Microsoft and Google. Executive board rooms are buzzing with discussions about ChatGPT, as leaders recognize the transformative potential of this technology. Generative AI could single-handedly add about 7% to economic output within the next decade, according to Goldman Sachs.

>>Follow VentureBeat’s ongoing generative AI coverage<<

Are these enterprise leaders prepared for the rapid changes ahead? How should they respond, and who will be disrupted? The urgency is palpable, even for the most security-conscious and regulated companies where change typically unfolds slowly. These organizations are now scrambling to launch proofs of concept.


Transform 2023

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JoAnn Stonier, chief data officer at Mastercard, shared her thoughts in a recent video interview: “Everyone’s talking about it as a real game-changer, and I do think it is. We will see an awful lot of change in a very rapid amount of time.”

Bringing together those ahead of the generative AI curve

Stonier is just one of many enterprise speakers slated to join us at our VB Transform event on July 11 and 12. This gathering will focus on how enterprise companies can adapt to generative AI and gain a competitive edge in the market.

With the technology landscape evolving at breakneck speed — it’s near impossible to stay on top of the hundreds of generative AI technologies being rushed out by vendors — it’s crucial for industry professionals to network and learn from their peers. At Transform, we’ll bring together technical leaders from the largest enterprises who are grappling with generative AI — some of whom have been experimenting for years and are ahead of the curve.

The event is designed for networking, with both structured and spontaneous opportunities to connect with fellow attendees. We’re excited that Transform is one of the first independent events to concentrate on the generative AI trend for enterprise technical decision-makers.

Transform will feature candid discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of closed products offered by OpenAI and giants like Microsoft, Google, and others. We’ll also explore when to use more open models from companies like HuggingFace and Meta’s LLaMA.

Many companies, such as online furniture and home decor retailer Wayfair, are adopting a pragmatic bimodal strategy: using closed models for quick market entry and open-sourced models for long-term projects where competitive advantage and unique value propositions are crucial. (At Transform, we’ll hear from Wayfair’s data science leader, Wilco Schulz-Mahlendorf, about this approach.)

At Transform, other speakers from Walmart, Wells Fargo, Hyatt, Citi, Alaska Airlines, FedEx, McDonald’s, eBay, Verizon and many more will share their insights on generative AI. Attendees will learn from trailblazers as well as those at earlier stages of their AI journeys.

Privacy concerns

For example, Intuit has been quick to adopt conversational AI and has built a sophisticated technology platform that enables rapid response to generative AI. As a result, they’re ahead of the game. We’ll hear from Intuit’s chief data officer, Ashok Srivastava, about GenStudio, the company’s lab for scaling generative AI, and what other organizations can learn from Intuit’s experience.

The company has adopted a largely open-sourced model, allowing it to keep its data private and ensure accuracy, something that advanced companies with resources can afford to do. You can use a model from a Microsoft or Google, but you have to share your data in return. Some enterprise companies, like Apple, are so wary of providing their data to those competitors that they’ve severely restricted what their employees can do with those models.

Meanwhile, we’ll hear from executives at companies like Citi, Mastercard and Verizon — leaders in finance and telecom — who are grappling with the implications of generative AI in highly regulated industries where data protection and customer privacy are paramount. Even these organizations are starting proofs of concept and exploring hybrid strategies for deploying generative AI. Among those speakers is Citi’s Promiti Dutta, head of analytics technology and innovation, who in a recent interview talked about Cit’s vast data center resources and how they’ll help with generative AI, which requires “huge” compute. 

Finally, I know from my conversation with Mastercard’s Stonier that she’ll likely echo the concerns of many others about the technology, and emphasize the responsibilities leaders have to use the technology correctly, and think through the impact on individuals. 

At Transform, we’ll also hear from big vendors like Microsoft and Google, who will face tough questions from our independent moderators about their generative AI solutions. And we’ll hear from the next tier of generative AI solutions providers, via the Innovation Showcase and Innovation Alley.

As we approach Transform, we’re eagerly anticipating the depth of knowledge and insights that will be shared by industry leaders. We’re excited to host this event amid the revolution that’s sweeping the industry and look forward to welcoming you there. Be sure to sign up soon for the early bird ticket, which has been extended to end of next week (use code VBTEXTEND99). Stay tuned for more announcements about our AI Award finalists, and other networking opportunities.

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