Sramana Mitra: From an innovation process point of view, how do you look at this? Is the actual technology mostly coming from the startups and you’re folding them into the particular vertical practice area or horizontal practice area?
Paul Daugherty: There are different tiers of innovation that we see. We work with the big platform companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. They’re creating platforms at scale and innovating very rapidly. We’re seeing some startups use some of that technology to build businesses around it. We see tremendous innovation from entrepreneurs. They’re bringing in new approaches like pattern recognition for radiology diagnostics.
The challenge that we’re finding is there’s lot of innovation and there are a lot of startups jumping into the fray now. It’s amazing how many new entrepreneurs and innovators are jumping into that space. The challenge for our clients is, how do they figure out who’s real and who’s not, which technology is ready to go and which is not. That’s where I think it is important for entrepreneurs to be crisp and clear. It’s becoming a very crowded space.
Sramana Mitra: We have this Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence series on the blog as well. We routinely get people who are working on startup technology or have different kind of vantage points using some of the technologies from the Google’s and Microsoft’s. We looked at this problem from many angles. Few things have stood out for me. I’d like to get your perspective on these.
There are two industries where it seems to me those industries cannot function without AI: cyber security and online advertising. If you look at either of those, they have to be completely automated and they have to bring in the power of AI to do what they do. Is that an accurate statement from your point of view?
Paul Daugherty: Online advertising was built on AI. A lot of innovations in AI came out of there or were applied there very early. Dynamic advertising is clearly very dependent on AI.
Cybersecurity is a little different. There’s that dynamic where bad actors are very advanced and well-equipped to use AI. In cyber defense, you better be really good at adapting and using AI because you need AI to match and defend against the bad actors who are using AI. Those are two domains where it really is necessary to be at the top of the game with AI.
Sramana Mitra: Are those domains areas in which Accenture has big activity?
Paul Daugherty: Both are big areas for us. Online advertising, in general, is a big business for us. We have a part of our business called Accenture Interactive, which is a very large business. Ad Age, the advertising magazine, just named Accenture Interactive the number one global visual agency. We’re the largest leading digital agency from that perspective and do a lot of work in this area. That business didn’t exist six years ago and it’s now a multi-billion business that’s growing rapidly.
Cyber security is a big business as well. The trick in cyber security is to use clever techniques with AI to understand where the penetrations are and help to prevent the bad actors from doing more harm. That’s a lot of our focus within cyber security.