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Between Worlds

Author: Mike Walsh

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Between Worlds is a technology podcast that takes you over the horizon and beyond borders, to bring you the global thinkers, innovators and troublemakers whose ideas challenge the world as we know it. From a courtyard cafe in Paris, to a busy sidewalk in Tokyo - each week futurist and global nomad, Mike Walsh, will share his personal conversations with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, recorded live in the field.
153 Episodes
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As AI moves out of research labs and into the real world of commercial applications, we will increasingly see the rise of AI products. Whether it be detecting fraud in financial transactions or optimizing supply chains, while you won’t need a detailed knowledge of machine learning models to take advantage of the next generation of AI tools, you may well require an appreciation for confidence intervals and a new approach to making decisions. On a trip to Toronto, I caught up with Karthik Ramakrishnan, Head of Industry Solutions & Advisory at Element AI. We spoke about the near-term challenges of embedding AI decision-making in organizations, and why just as important as getting algorithmic products to work with people, will be getting the products to work with each other to make complex, synthesized decisions across the company of the future.
I met Jason in Las Vegas while speaking at the National Automatic Merchandising Association show. The vending industry is uniquely placed to be a testing ground for the intersection of data, consumer behavior and autonomous retail solutions. Jason, who is the CEO of AI startup Hivery was originally selected as part of an innovation accelerator organized by the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. Tasked to take Coke assets and create a new business model, they came up with an AI platform designed to transform retail decision making. Catching up backstage in Vegas, we spoke about the future of machine learning, and what it might take to build a complete retail AI technology stack.
Robotic process automation is a tempting proposition for many leaders: who wouldn’t want the ability to replace your processes with cheap algorithms that can run 24/7? However, the real benefit of automation is not efficiency or cost-savings, but the opportunity to rethink your entire operating model. I spoke recently with some of EY’s automation clients in New York, and one of the most interesting chats I had was with George Kaczmarskyj, a principal within EY’s Financial Services advisory practice, who leads Robotics and Intelligent Automation for Americas Financial Services. In this episode about the future of automation, we spoke about the similarities with the early days of electricity when companies also struggled to reinvent their paradigm and business models.
Rob Tercek is a fascinating thinker and futurist. His most recent book, VAPORIZED: Solid Strategies for Success In A Dematerialized World, was selected as a winner for the 2016 International Book of the Year by GetAbstract. I met Rob a number of years ago at the METal networking events in LA. As a pioneering executive for MTV, Sony and OWN, as well as an entrepreneur in disruptive startup ventures, Rob has long been at the forefront of critical thinking about the digital world. Meeting up at LACMA, we discussed a wide range of topics from placeless innovation to the challenge of tech-driven inequality, the myth of perpetual growth to algorithmic management, smart contracts to the economic fallout from a data-driven future.
Despite being one most traditional and conservative sectors in the world, insurance is a sector primed for digital transformation and reinvention through AI. I met Phil Armstrong, the Global Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice-President at The Great-West Life Assurance Company while speaking at event for them in Toronto. Great West Life is a 32 billion dollar financial services holding company with interests in the life insurance, health insurance, investment and retirement savings, and reinsurance businesses. Armstrong has been a key driver of adopting automation to transform their operating model, and we spoke about the challenges of embracing AI while maintaining legacy platforms, digital ethics, his vision for a ‘factory of bots’, and the new kinds of algorithmic talent that companies will need to thrive in this environment.
I met Tiffani a number of years ago when we were both speaking to an audience of business leaders focused on digital transformation. I was struck by her pragmatic message around navigating the difficult choices that surround achieving sustainable growth, and was keen to interview her for my show. Tiffani is the Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. Prior to that she spent ten years at Gartner as a distinguished analyst and research fellow. Catching up with her in Los Angeles recently, we spoke about her latest book, ‘Growth IQ’, and what leaders need to be thinking about today as they plan their next smart move.
Mark Pesce on life in 2030

Mark Pesce on life in 2030

2019-02-1100:30:50

Mark Pesce has been living in the future for longer than just about anyone I know. He was one of the original pioneers of virtual reality, having invented VRML, the standard for 3D on the Web and a core component of MPEG-4. He is the author of 6 books, including "VRML: Browsing and Building Cyberspace", "The Playful World", and, most recently, "The Last Days of Reality". We caught up recently in Sydney where he now lives, to talk about the coming age of algorithms and the perils and pleasures of what it will be like to live in the AI-haunted world of the near future.
For retailers, being data-driven in the 21st century is not a luxury but a matter of survival. Everything is measurable: from engagement to purchase patterns, and that creates the need for leaders who are capable of being both creative and analytical when it comes to integrating data into their decision-making process. To explore this challenge, I spoke with Kshira Saagar, Head of Analytics and Data Sciences at The Iconic, one of Australia’s leading online retailers. Previously at Datalicious and Fairfax, Saagar was responsible for institutionalizing data-driven analytics across the company’s core competencies and building next-generation analytical products for his organization.
We are at a pivotal moment in our society where the forces of accelerating technology are starting to collide with our personal values, social priorities and legal systems. With the rise of AI and automation, knowing how to identify what is right or good in any given situation is becoming both more complex, and more essential. To get to the bottom of some of these challenging issues, I caught up with Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director of The Ethics Centre. Longstaff, who has been named as one of AFR Boss’ True Leaders for the 21st century, recently released a fascinating report entitled ‘Ethical By Design: Principles For Good Technology’ - that provides a framework that unifies centuries of philosophical thought, with today’s data-driven dilemmas.
To kick off a new season of Between Worlds, I’m turning the camera and the microphone on myself! What you are about to hear is the first chapter of my brand new audiobook, ‘The Algorithmic Leader: How to be smart, when machines are smarter than you.’ In this book, you will meet many of the leaders, pioneers, and scientists that regular listeners to this show will recognize from previous episodes. What will happen to jobs in a time of accelerating automation? How does the availability of real-time data change the way we need to think and solve problems? What will it take to be an effective leader in a world changed by AI? What are the secrets to successful digital transformation? I’ve synthesized years of research into a set of 10 principles about what it takes to succeed in the algorithmic age. My book is out in early March, but if you enjoy this sample, please download the entire audiobook at Audible (https://mikewal.sh/2DhTobe) or iTunes (https://mikewal.sh/2sAehYP).
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