“Googlers” for a Day

If you ask yourself which company you would love to work for in 5 years, I am pretty sure Google will undoubtedly make your top 5 list. But, realistically, what are the chances? For many of us, Google is merely a distant dream, but thanks to a collaboration with NIMS, a few lucky BSI associates had the chance to spend the afternoon at Google’s headquarters in Milan and got a taste of what it would be like to work for such a unique and revolutionary company.

Umberto Poschi and Giorgio Sajeva with some BSI associates at the entrance of Google Italy

The “innovative” label is something many companies nowadays aspire or claim to have; indeed, the word has become almost cliché. But, if there is a company which can be considered genuinely innovative, I think we would all agree that it would be Google. Proof of that being, the opening speech by Umberto Poschi, Head of Data Science and Business Analytics, was all about how innovation is fostered at Google, through every little thing that they do. “Google is a company in which innovation happens by default, not by accident” he stressed. To get his point across, he showed everyone a drawing of how the world would look like in 100 years, from the perspective of his 9-year old child. In the picture figured flying cars and houses held up in the stratosphere. The child was no Picasso, but he was very confident and proud of his ideas. In line with the unconventional nature of the company, the guests were given a paper and a pen and were asked to do a sketch of the person sitting next to them. When the dreadful moment to share sheets came, their reactions were very different. Everyone was embarrassed and started laughing. This is how the majority of adults would behave. By growing up we somewhat lose that courage to hold on tight to our ideas, no matter how absurd they may seem, and work towards making them happen. At Google they look for exactly this. Googlers (what employees working at google are called) go for wild ideas and share them fearlessly with their Google counterparts, just as children would do.

A quick stop at the 2nd floor of Google Italy, dedicated to the theme of automobiles

To achieve something great, the first question we must ask ourselves is “What if?”. In 1998, the founders of Google embarked on a very ambitious mission, asking their version of “What if?” as “What if we organize the world information and make it accessible and useful to everyone?” It might still sound quite impossible but setting the bar high is what motivates everyone at Google to wake up in the morning and come to work.

Another key principle embraced by the company is the so-called “Default to open” meaning it is of primary importance for Googlers to incessantly share ideas. Every Friday an open question and answer session takes place called “TGIF”, where anyone in the company can ask questions openly to Google’s founders and the CEO in a cafeteria in Mountain View. This is an extremely empowering tool, because not only it shows the commitment of the CEO to be part of the company but also underlines the fact that at Google every idea is equally valuable. When it comes to sharing, trust is the most necessary factor. Everyone has the responsibility to be proactive and give critical feedback. Rather than destroying other’s ideas, what’s vital is to build on them by saying “Yes, and” instead of listing reasons why that idea might not work. Something which we would all like to avoid is “failure”. But what Mr. Poschi underlined is that failure is part of the process. The most successful products have come after tons of fiascos. This is because even if you fail, for sure you will learn something. The important thing is to never give up and engage in “optimistic thinking”, holding on to the belief that sooner or later you will succeed. This culture is really empowering and drives innovation in all sectors of the company.

The second part of the presentation was led by Giorgio Sajeva, Principal Data Scientist and Business Analytics Manager. Today, we are in the midst of change, what some have called the Second Machine Age. Science and technology are showing us the big open problems we have to come face-to-face with, but it also giving us the tools to solve them. One such tool is the trending term Artificial Intelligence. Most of us interact with AI on a day to day basis. Just think about the last time you watched your favourite series on Netflix – AI gathers data on your frequently watched shows to direct your attention to new shows you haven’t watched previously, even matching the percentage of you liking it! AI is not new, but Google has the computer power to run deep neural networks and completely reinvent some of its products.

At the very core of AI is machine learning, which is the science of getting a computer to solve something without any programmable rule to reach the solution, just by training it. Machine learning has all sorts of useful applications: classification, prediction, generation, and understanding, just to mention a few. Mr. Sajeva explained that in order to make this technology evolve with Google, they follow a “Focus on the user approach,” which means the consumer is at the centre of any new idea or project they launch. The challenge is that nowadays consumers are becoming much more curious, impatient and demanding. We have access to an avalanche of information coming from every direction and are becoming more and more research obsessed. We want people to answer our doubts immediately and recognize our tastes, our name, our hobbies, and what we would like to eat. The one-to-one relationship with the brand is becoming of primary importance. We are essentially living in an “age of assistance”, in which consumers expect to be assisted whenever they want and if this doesn’t happen they get frustrated and switch to one of the million other options available. This means that there is a huge potential for businesses to improve.

How is Google engaging with this new age? Google is offering products and services which feed exactly this new behaviour of consumers. For example, Google Assistant can interact with you in a natural language and respond to commands or questions, Google Lens can identify objects such as QR codes, signals of restaurants, flowers, and put them into context to provide relevant information, Google translate has recently added real time translation for 13 new languages, Google maps can allow you to reach any place and predict traffic.

Mr. Sajeva emphasized that it all starts from data. Every company is or will become a data company. The crucial point is to understand how to interpret this data and use it to predict consumer behaviour and interact with them in the best possible way. Data companies are 3x more likely to report significant improvements in decision making which is needed to lead through digital disruption. Nevertheless, many companies are still struggling to use this data appropriately. This is because they are not updated or appropriately integrated, so they face difficulties in linking the data. They may also lack the organizational capacity and have limited recruitment skills. On average 90% of companies in Europe are in the middle level of digitalization, with only 2% having reach the multi-moment phase. In order to reach maturity, they have to “set the foundations” by understanding current data and implementing analytics, “build connections” by automating message deliveries and embedding expert skills, and “make every moment matter” by adopting agile teaming, insourcing key capabilities and automating data. Studies show that moving towards the ultimate multi-moment step results in higher revenues and lower costs. We have the appropriate technology to move to this step, the issue is how to use this technology to get more advanced, both from an organizational and marketing point of view.

What Google is essentially doing is helping companies move to this multi-moment step of digitalization by democratizing artificial intelligence and making it accessible to everyone. This is in line with Google’s fundamental belief that everyone in tech is working on something that can potentially change the world. One of the most heart-warming parts of the presentation was without doubt the closing video about a high school kid, Abu, who taught himself to code and created an app that uses machine learning to diagnose breast cancer. Here is the link if you’re curious to watch it: Abu’s story .

A brief Q&A session followed in which students clarified any doubts and got crucial insights on Google’s recruitment process. On surface level, we know Google is probably more technologically efficient than the rest of its competitors, but by attending this company visit, associates could see the crucial elements that went in to the process of making Google the giant that it is today – such as their innovation-nurturing company culture and their democratization of AI and machine learning. All in all, Google’s in-company visit was an amazing experience which allowed BSI members to get an inside look of what it feels like to work at Google and maybe one day, work there for real.

By: Anna Martinelli

In company visit at Reply: innovation from day one

On April 16th, a group of students from BSI, Build Sustainable Innovation, had the pleasure to join NIMS, Network of Innovation Management and Strategy, for a visit at Reply’s offices in Milan. Reply is one of the Italian leaders in the consulting field, with a total revenue of 1.035 billion euros.

The first part was a presentation of the company. The opening speaker was Claudio Bombonato, Executive Director of Reply. Why is Reply unique? Reply was born as a tech company back in 1996 and only then has moved in the consulting sector. This means Reply implements an innovative approach in each field it works in. Nowadays an inventive and digital vision is needed to achieve top results and survive against fast and continuous changes of the economy. Reply has also a different organization. It isn’t structured as a usual big company with tons of different divisions, but each business unit is technically a separate company, held 100% from Reply. This approach has several advantages, firstly it is more flexible and furthermore it helps employees to experience the entrepreneurial spirit of the business unit they are working in. This is why Reply has never done substantial acquisitions. Spreading its vision and ground breaking approach to third parties is not easy, so it’s better for Reply to create business from inside instead of buying from outside.

The second part was a presentation of what they call #LifeAtReply. The environment inside the company is young and engaging, every week there are a lot of activities for employees, from street food to yoga sessions. Another pillar of Reply is the so-called “lifelong learning”, meaning that acquiring new knowledge is an everyday process. At Reply skilled employees organize internal courses for other colleagues and they get rewarded for teaching and spreading knowledge with others. The initiative of employees is motivated with “Community of practices”: people that are interested in a specific field of innovation can create a team (the Community) and work on the field they are interested in. If the Community works well, it can potentially become a new business unit or an executive course for University students. Furthermore, Reply offers other opportunities for willing students, as the Reply Creative Challenge (check it out at this link). Following the presentation four associates working at Reply presented the business unit they work in (Consulting, E-Finance Consulting, Logistics and Triple Sense Digital Experience) and our students had the opportunity to talk with them during the final networking session. The visit was interesting and motivating because students could live the real work environment of an innovative and lively company as Reply.

Davide Longo

Talent Garden Innovation Hub Workshop

On April 16th, a group of students from BSI-Bocconi Students for Innovation had the
pleasure to join NIMS-Network of Innovation Management and Strategy for a workshop at
Talent Garden offices in Milan. Talent Garden is an Innovation hub, member of the Google
for Entrepreneurs’ network, which has more than 23 campuses spread around Europe.
The first part of the company visit included a tour through the offices where students had
the opportunity to see where several startups work in coworking spaces as well as having a
closer look into The Fablab, a research and development center which focus on prototyping
and it is available to the community members. The company also presented several training
programs that they provide through their Innovation School to new graduates or
companies. These programs can vary between full and part-time and the themes are
adapted to the current market needs.

Talent Garden entrance


The second half of the visit was dedicated to learn more about working methodologies.
Digital Transformation is one of the biggest buzzwords nowadays, being the key element
transformation patterns, which can follow a human centric approach or a data-driven
approach. It is crucial for companies to adopt working methodologies that are consistent
with the current market needs to be able to implement these transformations.
The first methodology approach was the Waterfall approach which relies on fixed scope of
action, fixed time and fixed resources. Later on, companies started to understand that the
individuals that were joining this type of companies where knowledgeable workers,
meaning that they could contribute by producing knowledge and improve the current status
quo. In order to leverage this situation, a different methodology was developed, the Lean
approach. The Lean methodology aims at eliminating time wasted, create knowledge inside
the company and put the consumers on the center of all processes. Thus, focusing on the
internal improvement. Consequently, The Agile approach emerged to complement the Lean
methodology, as an external overview should be incorporated. The Agile approach focusses
on interactions, customer collaboration and fast response to change.
The last part of the day was covered by a workshop where the concept of Design Thinking
and Value Proposition Canvas was presented and the two different groups that were
formed had to develop a “persona” and through innovation solve his pain points, taking into
consideration a given scenario and the gains that he aimed to achieve.
Overall it was an enriching experience that allowed BSI to once again dive into the world of
innovation and creative thinking.

Inès Tavora

Digital Startup – come fare impresa nel digitale in Italia

Le imprese digitali in Italia rappresentano attualmente solamente il 2.5% del totale delle imprese nazionali nonostante siano tra le più produttive e creino occupazione e ricchezza al di sopra della media.

Lo scorso 4 Aprile la nostra associazione, Build Sustainable Innovation, ha avuto il piacere di ospitare tre esponenti di rilievoorganizzando,in collaborazione con le associazioni Entrepreneurship Club Bocconi e Bocconi Sports Management, un evento che aveva come obiettivo quellodi permettere ai futuri startupper della nostra università di avere dei suggerimenti da persone del settore, che sanno quali sono le difficoltà, gli ostacoli ma anche le soddisfazioni di creare e gestire una propria attività.

A seguito di un’introduzione da parte del moderatore Francesco Perrini, professore di management presso la nostra università, il fondatore e CEO di GoleeTommaso Guerra ha fornito, sulla base della propria esperienza imprenditoriale, alcune linee guida per riuscire a sviluppare una startup in un mercato ancora inesplorato. Golee è unapiattaforma didigitalizzazione del settore sportivo dilettantistico che ha come fine ultimo quello di garantire trasparenza e meritocrazia nel mondo dello sport, offrendo una serie di servizi alle società che non hanno ancora beneficiato della rivoluzione tecnologica per incrementarne l’efficienza. Il vantaggio competitivo di Golee, spiega Guerra,è dato dal fatto di essere il first mover sul campo nazionale offrendo un maggior numero di funzionalità rispetto ai competitors e creando partnership efficaci, oltre al know-how che ha potuto sviluppare nel corso degli anni. Inoltre, entrando in maniera piuttosto invadente nella realtà delle società sportive, Goleeriesce a creare barriere di uscita molto elevate che rappresentano un vero e proprio asset dell’azienda.

Daniele Rosselli, fondatore e CEO di Calciatori Brutti si è soffermato invece sull’utilizzo dei social come mezzo innovativoper la creazione di un’azienda. Nata come pagina Facebookper rimanere in contatto con i compagni di squadra a seguito di un infortunio, ad oggi Calciatori Brutti è “lo spogliatoio più grande d’Italia” con più di 3 milioni di seguaci su tutti i social. Dal punto di vista imprenditoriale la scelta è stata quella di costruire un modello chiamato “Media for equity” che consiste nell’offrire visibilità ad alcune aziende per diventarne soci.

Come fa Calciatori Brutti a guadagnare dai social? Ce l’hanno spiegato Samuele, social media manager, e Federico, capo redattore. L’editoria deve inevitabilmente trovare un proprio modello per sopravvivere e, lavorare con i brand , permette di accumulare una componente economica grazie alla quale è possibile incrementare la qualità del contenuto sviluppando anche la creatività, che rappresenta il punto di forza dell’azienda.Calciatori brutti si è sempre differenziato per il tentativo di integrare il guadagno con l’intrattenimento, in altre parole cercando di fornire un contenuto piacevole seppure a scopo pubblicitario.

Il terzo e ultimo ospite ad intervenire è stato Daniele Alberti, founder e presidente di Starboost, il quale, avendo intrapreso una serie di iniziativesia da investitore che da imprenditore, ha condiviso con noi alcuni insegnamenti che egli ha potuto trarre dalla propria esperienza. I primi due problemi che si incontrano nel portare avanti un’iniziativa imprenditoriale, afferma Alberti, sono la credibilità e la mancanza di partner allineati. Inoltre, in un contesto globale in cui i processi e le idee sono sempre più permeati dall’innovazioneci sono nuovi prerequisiti da soddisfare e, dal momento che fare ricerca e sviluppo è estremamente costoso saranno in pochi a potersopravviverein uno scenario di questo tipo. Secondo il modello Starboost, al fine di ridurre il capitale finanziario utile a far decollare un’azienda è necessario creare un team forte e compatto con obiettivi trasparenti e condivisi e soprattutto stabilire una capitalizzazione virtuale dell’azienda per dividersi in modo meritocratico le quote della società. Questo nuovo modello di business vede tra i propri punti di forzaun aumento del commitment degli imprenditori, la riduzione del fabbisogno finanziario per avviare l’impresa euna maggiore stabilità aziendale.

Per concludere, ci sono alcune domande che, secondo Alberti,ogni giovane imprenditoredovrebbe porsi. “Chi sono davvero?”, “Il mondo imprenditoriale fa per me?”, “Quali sono le cose che mi piacciono, quali sono quelle che so fare?”, “Cosa voglio nella vita? Dove mi vedo tra 1, 3 e 10 anni?”. Solo in questo modo è possibile identificare le migliori opportunità e coglierle nel migliore dei modi.

By: ELENA PRINCIPI

April 8, 2019

17° ETHEREUM MEETUP AT DELOITTE’S GREENHOUSE

Led merely by the same desire to discover more about what lies behind the undeniably ingenious invention of blockchain, a group of BSI associates had the pleasure to participate at the 17th Ethereum Milano meetup, which took place at Deloitte’s Greenhouse on March 6. The event was structured in two parts: first a conference was held to discuss the applications and challenges of blockchain technology, with particular attention to the legal framework; this was followed by a friendly networking session, in which the students could enjoy a bounty buffet and speak with professionals in the field. In such a hyper-connected digital world and highly volatile market for cryptocurrencies, people are looking for alternative ways to manage their transactions. Lately, Blockchain is raising a lot of interest, simply because it has all the characteristics we are looking for: it is transparent, immutable and decentralized, but most importantly, it allows us to pay for a small online transaction such as the purchase of a train ticket with no transaction cost whatsoever. But Blockchain is not only the record-keeping technology behind Bitcoin. Its power is much more disruptive, it will decentralize the structures that rule all our economic transactions and ultimately challenge our concept of trust.

Given the complexity of the issue and the challenges lawyers are currently facing to integrate such a technology in our legal sphere, some very remarkable speakers were invited for the occasion: Federica Caretta, IP and IT Attorney at Deloitte Legal, Fulvio Sarzana, attorney in the Italian’s Supreme Court and member of the national Strategy Blockchain, Carlo Piana, IT lawyer and Digital liberties advocate, and Giorgio Donà, head of the legal department at ArtWallet.io. The discussion was guided by Stefano Leone, who managed to ask thought-provoking questions and extrapolate various insights from the guests on the development of blockchain in the public and private sector, both in Italy and abroad. The conference focused on various topics: intellectual property and smart contract, the activities carried out by MISE in the Security and Utility Tokens area, the legal difficulties related to the launch of an ICO abroad, in particular in Singapore and Dubai, the importance of Open Source for the Blockchain and the problem of energy consumption connected to the operation of the Blockchain.

A crucial point upon which most of the discussion centered is the fact that technology must be incorporated into policy making. The hurdle is that the Italian system and its lumbering burocracy is quite slow in trying to understand what these new technologies are and, as Mr. Sarzano pointed out, sometimes it might be better not to intervene rather than doing it poorly. The Italian government has decided to establish two commissions of experts, one for artificial intelligence and one for blockchain. Following a public call, 30 people have been selected to elaborate a national strategy for blockchain with the aim of identifying this new reality and regulating it in the best possible manner. A new legislation has come into force in early February, which introduced a first definition of blockchain that provides for two large macro-areas: the first is time stamping (which defines that the transaction that takes place on the blockchain is under particular conditions valid and legal, even though this conditions are not yet public), the second recognizes the legal value of smart contracts. Mr. Sarzano is in charge of regulating ICOs (Initial Coin Offering) and STO (Securing Token Offering). The regulation governing them are already present in other countries, such as Singapore, Switzerland, San Marino, Malta. Italy’s ambition is to be at the forefront of technology without fearing innovation and at the same time exploit this opportunity to raise a large amount of capital. The aim is therefore that of making Italy a hub for the issuance of these digital and financial tokens.

Nevertheless, smart contracts can be used for a variety of applications that can differ from being purely financial. For example, Federica Carretta explained that there are problems that they often encounter with customers in the mapping of the copyrights themselves, because they are not registered (it is not known who created what and when). She clarified that there are two main phenomenon that damage the owners of intellectual property rights the most and these are the counterfeiting and the grey market (something put on the market with the consent of the owner but that ends up circulating somewhere where it shouldn’t). Perhaps a blockchain that is able to record the various steps of an event or even trace a product from beginning to end of the supply chain may help in this regard. But is the blockchain the right technology or are other tracking systems more effective?

Another challenging question raised was whether to use public or private blockchains. The code of the public blockchain is open source, making it possible for everyone to see it and exploit it. But, why is it important that the protocols are open? Mr. Piana explained that it is fundamental to know if the developer has correctly implemented the rules when writing the code, without taking shortcuts or issuing black doors. This is easier to check, both legally and technically, if the code is open source. In the case of errors or inconsistencies, more independent implementations are allowed. Moreover, the requirements must be “open-standard”, meaning that more than one person should contribute to its formation, different stakeholders should be able to manage it and it should be entrusted to a third party without stakes in the company for further supervision.

However, there is the so-called “blockchain trilemma”: a public blockchain cannot be secure, distributed and scalable at the same time, so if you want to have more scalability you inevitably have to reduce security or move towards private blockchain. Examples of the importance of open source are cryptographic theories that are implemented in blockchains, that protect our wallets in the execution of a smart contract that is public and visible to everyone. Often a browser called Brave is used that guarantees privacy through a shield offered by the browser. Its peculiarity is that of wanting to ensure the protection of user data, sharing as little as possible with advertisers.

Another important point is that some of these new technologies are protected by patents and this could be a problem because they erode the incentives for further improvement, and as a consequence decrease the value of the invention. This is one of the dilemmas of intellectual property. It is nevertheless important to have the right balance between regulatory intervention on one hand and stepping back on the other by providing just a general framework of the mandatory information that is required.

Overall, the event provided BSI members with very relevant information and allowed them to understand a little more about the future of blockchain in Italy and abroad. At the end of the conference, students could enjoy good food and wine offered by Deloitte and engage in open conversation with the speakers of the event and the other extraordinary guests that were invited.

By ANNA MARTINELLI

March 8, 2019

In start-up visit: Indigo AI

In a courtyard hidden between the busy streets of Milan, a group of friends is working on a revolutionary idea. Truly speaking, it has now become more than just an idea. Indigo AI, a two-year old company who started off by revolutionizing the way of doing grocery shopping, is currently working as a B2B in collaboration with different firms, from the banking and the insurance sector to companies in the publishing and pharmaceutical industries.

To briefly explain what Indigo provides, imagine yourself as a customer who has inquiries regarding a specific service or a product. You do not have time to call a call center employee nor to navigate through a website’s hodgepodge of information. This is where Indigo comes into play: with their services, the only thing to do is to type your questions in a real-time chat, where you will get an immediate reply. This chat is a little unusual because you are the only human involved: on the other side of the conversation answers are generated by a chatbot.

According to Indigo AI, a chatbot is “a business account inside a messaging app”. Basically, it is a virtual assistant, working 24/7, capable of simulating a conversation with a person, with no people taking part in its functioning. For it to do more than simply answering questions, it has been connected to Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is the technology that allows the bot to learn from the interactions it has with the end users (Machine Learning Approach).

Furthermore, the answers are given on the basis of data made available by the company. The bot is not able to create original solutions. What is more, the single response can be tailored to the customer’s preferences. If the software is not able to give an answer due to lack of knowledge, it will be updated extending its source of information. Indigo does not sell the bot, it develops platforms of Artificial Intelligence with some integration requested by the firms that have different purposes.

Gianluca Maruzzella, co-founder and CEO of Indigo AI, showed us the main benefits of this win-win tool. It makes customer care more efficient thanks to immediate response time and a higher quality of answers. A key factor is creating customer engagement, by detecting the most frequent inquiries closely related to people’s preferences. This huge amount of data is analyzed in order to integrate the value proposition. Additionally, the whole experience can be tailored to the customer’s needs and the passed interactions. Another pro is the scalability of the investment: with an initial outflow the company is able to manage a potentially infinite number of conversations.

However, the reason why its implementation is not automatic for every firm is the lack of knowledge in the field of Artificial Intelligence, and it is no secret that what is unknown is also frowned upon. Many CEOs do not consider a chatbot worth the investment and the employees are often concerned about being replaced. For this reason, the Indigo team relies on top managers’ education and a stack of successful outcomes.

In conclusion, to incorporate an AI system a company needs to change its mindset: implementing it not because it is trendy, but due to the fact that open-mindedness and risk-taking are key factors to foster continuous innovation.

Bianca Ambrosini

Cloud-based AI Services: The Gateway to Artificial Intelligence

All businesses are being disrupted by the application of artificial intelligence, or at least they will be in the next few years. But what happens if this technology is combined with Cloud Computing?

We are now witnessing an ongoing paradigm shift in web data services, where AI tools are provided as “Cloud AI services”. No one can exactly anticipate all the implications of such a change, but it is definitely going to transform the way in which firms will make use of data.

What Are Cloud AI Services?

Google, Microsoft and Amazon are among those firms that are leading the competition in this field, with huge investments that only big high-tech firms can afford. What they provide on cloud are suites of software able to execute all of AI’s abilities such as reading text, voice commands, image recognition, automatic learning and patterns identification in datasets.

In fact, developers can basically start using AI tool models and personalise the services tailored to their own tasks, without having to code the algorithm from scratch. The challenge is to take advantage of that without losing control on their own business.

Opportunities

Since improvements in artificial intelligence performance rely mainly on processing massive data streaming, these suites give to firms the tools to scale the application of already reliable and well-designed AI software. This means that the high-tech giants are socializing valuable core competencies in artificial intelligence with external developers.

Moreover, this move is obviously a big deal for those firms that already use the same technology internally. As Amazon’s $12 billion in revenues from its cloud division indicates, once the critical mass is reached, these kinds of web services become flourish cash cows even if sold at relatively low cost. In addition, external firms and developers increasingly use their services. This because the more the providers gain expertise in the field, the more they are able to build upon their capabilities. Therefore, In order to master artificial intelligence, it is important keep testing and refining its applications, as well as getting feedback on their strengths and lacks.

On the Horizon

The battle among Cloud AI Suites providers is fierce and competitive advantage is pursued both through acquisitions and critical partnerships. In early 2017, TenCent struck a deal with NVIDIA to boost its growth in the field, while Microsoft is challenging Amazon’s leadership in key regions ,like India, by teaming up with local partners. On the other hand, Google is proceeding through one of the most important M&A strategies focused on AI to recover lost ground on competitors.Any high-tech company knows that it cannot lose ground both on the AI and Cloud Computing fields.

As Andrew Ng said before leaving Baidu, “AI is the electricity”, it is what is going to determine a company’s position in the market regardless of the business.” What emerges from this trend is the apparent and low concentration of AI capabilities in few cloud-based AI service providers who are able to invest money and efforts in this competition. At the same time, all the firms will eventually become dependent on the application of Artificial Intelligence in their business. This match can either create unique opportunities or become the worst kind of threat to a firms’ independence. It is likely that their early involvement in the field, has granted tech giants the ability to gather progressively more power over time, while the other firms might turn into indirect subsidiaries.

Takeaway

Until now, access to AI’s potential was limited to big high-tech companies and a few start-ups, who are typically acquired as they develop a potential threat to the big giants. The Cloud-based AI services spread their use by leveraging the specialization and socialization of rare core competences in this technology. As a consequence, this will trigger many opportunities in any business that were unthinkable up to now.

Namely, if “AI is the new mobile”, the Cloud AI might be its Internet Connection. This new perspective opens an entirely different dilemma regarding how firms can avoid the abuse of power of network providers.

Pietro Tansini