Innovation, Tech Trends, Machine Learning
If Picasso were to be alive in 2022, would he use Artificial Intelligence technology to make art?
AI Art: Will it Disrupt the World as We Know it?
By Amy H. Chiu, Tech Brand Content Developer
I can’t help but wonder, if Picasso were to be alive in 2022, would he use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to make art?
With a background in visual arts, I spent sleepless nights in the art studio, sketching and studying every brushstroke. Every step in the art creation was filled with unexpected beauty. A small drop of black ink could alter the entire canvas. In traditional art forms, there was no control + z key to undo changes.
I remember Adobe visited my art community years ago and showcased a variety of digital tools from Creative Cloud. The tutorials broadened my horizon and challenged my definition of art. I experienced the power of switching pen tools and colors on the screen, including the accuracy and consistency of texture in design. The techniques would have taken hours and days in a hands-on studio, considering mixing colors, cleaning the tools, and using multiple mediums come at a cost.
Little did I know, that was just the beginning.
Fast forward to 2022 – all it takes is a few keywords and programming languages to create art.
Several weeks ago, a Colorado-based artist sparked controversy when they submitted a piece created using artificial intelligence (AI) and brought home a $300 First Prize.
By harnessing the power of machine learning algorithms, artists can now create works that would have taken hours and years to complete with traditional mediums. That said, what are the pros and cons of relying on algorithms? Let’s look at what we know about AI art and its impact.
What Defines AI Art?
AI art is any artwork created partially or entirely by artificial intelligence. In most cases, AI art is generated by algorithms, meaning artists write code or use software for the machines to learn. The algorithm then captures the style and aesthetic the artists want by reviewing thousands of existing paintings before generating one.
One of the most famous examples is “The Painting Fool,” a software that generates artwork digitally and paints in various styles. It was created by Simon Colton of Imperial College, London. Further reading: Painting Fool’s portfolio reveals artificial artist.
The Algorithm to Make AI Art
When you make AI Art, you will encounter a class of algorithms called Generative adversarial networks, or GANs. They are composed of a generator and a discriminator. The generator creates images from scratch while the discriminator evaluates them and determines whether they’re real. Both the generator and discriminator get better at their respective tasks, resulting in increasingly realistic fake images.
In other words, one may generate photographs of human faces and realistic images of animals that don’t exist in the world. GANs also translate images from sketches to color photographs and texts to images. For example, users may put in: “a small bird is purple with green and has a very long beak,” and get realistic photographs that match the description in the output. Read more examples here.
If you want to try GANs, here are a few steps. Step one is selecting several authentic images for training. Next, generate a few fake images using the generator. Step three is training the discriminator to use both real and fake ones. Lastly, generate more fake images and train the full GAN model using only counterfeit images. You may find detailed instructions and working python code here.
The Scary Side of AI Art
Technologies are evolving. They are convenient yet dangerous.
My biggest concern as a creator is to see people lose their respect and appreciation for artists. Although one may romanticize and say art is about the process and the original ideas behind it, the result matters, especially for agencies that hire graphic designers and advertising experts.
“Art? I can do that in 20 seconds with a detailed description in AI.” Hearing comments like this has impacted the motivation and the reality of artists. That’s when I think about the cost and effort art students pay to attend art schools.
What will the Dean tell future art students on their graduation day? ‘Good luck finding an art job out there and doing better than AI’? Although this may sound a little extreme, the concern remains as there are already limited career opportunities in the field.
My best friend attended the Otis College of Art and Design to become a fashion designer. The annual tuition on a full-time basis for 2020/2021 is $69,532. She always drew fashion illustrations on tablets and paper. Every shade and every detail mattered. Handing in the illustration collection late could result in a lost opportunity in a competitive internship.
If AI could do what she learned in four years and at a much faster speed with more pattern selections, was it worth it for her to pay the tuition and go through the training?
The Cost of AI Art
With AI Art in place, how does one price the work? Is it based on the artist’s fame, artwork’s material, time spent, or simply how “good” the art looks?
In 2018, an algorithm-generated painting sold for $432,000 at Christie’s, one of the world’s largest auction houses. The ‘painting’ was created by a designer using a computer. The news sure sparked intense conversations in the art communities. How should AI impact the value of the art generated? Should it be worth less? Then again, look at the price of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). Need we say more?
AI-generated art challenges the definition of what we call ‘art.’ Consider how NFTs and AI art are created and sold. Both use algorithms, which are a set of rules. How they are applied can produce different and unique results, sparking inspiration and controversial debates. Only time will tell what else AI can do in the realm of art, but one thing is for sure: it has brought us closer to the future.
AI Art Continues to Evolve
AI art is still relatively new, and there’s much we don’t yet know about it. However, AI is profoundly impacting the art world—creating new types of artwork and how experts judge artwork in competitions.
“I see the power in AI Art, and that makes me want to support and protect traditional artists even more,” Srinivas P., the Sr. Mainframe Developer, said. “There could be a different category for AI-generated artwork in future competitions.”
Srinivas and I also connected with Sangeetha G., an artist specializing in character drawing. “Live art competitions would be great opportunities for people to see the value of traditional art. Creating-in-progress is something computers do not show.”
Computers didn’t develop the painting concept solely on their own. AI still requires human involvement before generating the result. The algorism can take a photo of a seascape and apply the style of van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” If the user is unhappy with the result, edit the input by changing a few words and generating the “perfect” one.
It’s fair to ask: are we creating art or playing a puzzle game?
For now, the ability to produce something entirely new from scratch separates us from machines. In the future? Maybe not so much.
Innovation, Tech Trends, Machine Learning
If buying an NFT does not give you the right to reproduce and sell copies, what exactly do you own?
NFTs: The Price of Bragging Rights
Why would someone spend $2.5 million on a Link to a JPEG?
You might have already seen examples of NFTs like funny ape drawings or celebrity avatars used as an account holder’s picture on Twitter. So, who would buy a personalized digital token of a dancing bear in a tutu? Is it worth $2.5 million dollars? What value are you really getting?
First, a quick definition of an NFT:
Non-fungible token (NFT)
Units of data that are stored on a blockchain. People can buy and sell NFTs; they can be associated with unique digital files such as photos, videos, and audio.
What is the difference between buying an oil painting at a gallery and buying a bunch of 2D digital pixels?
Here’s the definition of ownership.
If you purchase a painting from a gallery, you get to take it home and hang it up in the physical world we live in. You OWN the original painting. All others may have photos or even reproductions, but they will never have that one piece of unique physical canvas. For example, Picasso’s original artwork will always be Picasso. People cannot recreate the same exact painting.
If you purchase an NFT, which could be anything from JPEG to a screenshot of a tweet, it does NOT make you the owner of the “art,” it only gives you the right to claim partial ownership. Buying an NFT does not give you the right to reproduce it and sell copies. Buyers showcase immutable public transactions on the blockchain to prove ownership. Read more: NFTs – what exactly do I own?
It’s worth pointing out that although the owner has the right to use the NFT EXCLUSIVELY, a copy of the digital art can literally ‘look’ as good as the original when people take screenshots to copy and paste the images. With a right-click to save, the copies of digital files are precisely the same as the original NFT. It comes down to the owner bragging about whether they own the original NFT.
For NFT creators, you have the right to reproduce, distribute copies, and display the work in public. However, the NFT royalties work differently. Creators earn royalties through subsequent sales in the secondary market. The transaction occurs without the need for any intermediaries. Remember, not every NFT generates royalties. Everything needs to be written on the smart contract; otherwise, the creator has no claim. Read more: What are NFT royalties?
Why do people go crazy over these?
Let’s break it down.
An NFT gives you a token of ownership on the blockchain. Rather than supporting an artist by donating to them on PayPal or BuyMeACoffee, you can support them by purchasing their NFTs in exchange for documenting your purchasing record on a public, visible ledger. A second benefit, buying an NFT may appeal to collectors who gain pleasure from owning rare, digital goods. A third benefit is that each NFT has a market value, and anyone can buy/sell NFTs. For starters, it is more accessible than investing in the housing market. New to NFTs? Here are some options to store them.
Risks in NFTs
But before you dive right in, consider the risks of buying and selling NFTs. If you want to purchase one to support an artist, ask if the value you derive from ownership aligns with what it means to own an NFT. There are business opportunists who create NFTs from written codes, disregarding the meaning of art creation. For example, the 10000 Lazy Lions NFTs with different combinations of eyes, clothing, and mane are made from randomly generated codes instead of careful craftsmanship from artists.
Another danger is the way we are using NFTs. Before the pandemic, everyone from organizations to influencers jumps on trends trying to chase the cash. For example, agents have produced NFT from past photographs and artwork of the famous deceased to “celebrate” their legacy using them in the NFT market.
Many are predicting this could be the next housing bubble. Has it started to crash? What do you think? Something to consider before purchasing that dancing bear in a tutu.
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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We thank the EMPOWER committee and members who generously donated their time to make this event successful.
Hacking the Future of STEM with iWIN EMPOWER and GirlsHack
In celebration and recognition of International Women’s Month, ADP’s International Women’s Inclusion Network (iWIN) Business Resource Group (BRG) sponsored GirlHacks 2022 Hackathon event at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). GirlHacks 2022 was a 36-hour women-centric hackathon that featured motivational speakers, discussion panels, and mentoring programs created to inspire women and support advanced career growth.
The event was an initiative propelled by the iWIN EMPOWER Committee. With core values of inspiring innovation and social responsibility, many ADP iWIN BRG members volunteered to participate in the event. In addition to providing tech guidance during the hackathon, our associates engaged students in thought-provoking discussions about the GPT Development programs, summer internship positions, and work opportunities across ADP.
“With a commitment to growing opportunities for women in STEM, the iWIN Empower BRG is proud to offer insight and guidance to new technologists, even before they begin their careers,” said Aini Ali, Vice President of Major Accounts Operations at ADP. “This event aligns closely with our mission to provide tools, guidance, and a network for women and children of all ages to reach new heights of success in STEM careers. It was an amazing experience too.”
The first-place winner of GirlHacks 2022 was Imposter Bubble, a mobile app inspired by the idea submitter’s own experiences with Imposter Syndrome (IS). IS refers to an internal experience of believing you are not as competent as others perceive you. 75% of executive women identified having experienced IS at various points during their careers. Imposter Bubble provides positive, powerful affirmations to women, helping them process their negative thoughts. The application was built using Flutter, a cross-platform app development framework by Google that allows the same codebase to develop apps for iOS, Android, and web platforms. Learn more about the Imposter Bubble and other submissions on Devpost.
ADP iWIN BRG would like to thank the EMPOWER committee and members who generously donated their time to make this event successful. ADP is committed to Diversity and Inclusion. We encourage you to learn about the fantastic opportunities for collaboration and partnership our BRGs offer.
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Innovation, Voice of Our People, Future of Work
The future of learning will involve more personalization and customization based on learning styles, competencies, and preferences.
How Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are Driving Innovation and Opportunities at ADP
Julio Hartmann joined ADP as a software development manager in 2004. Seventeen years later, he is now the Vice President/General Manager, head of ADP’s global software product development center and innovation lab in Porto Alegre, Brazil. His team works across the global product and technology portfolio, always looking for new opportunities. Julio leads product innovation and research, exploring growing technologies and evolving trends. He and his team aim to create the next generation of human capital management applications that drive learning and training in the workforce.
How it Started: Human Capital Management (HCM) Software
Steve Jobs said, “Things happen fairly slowly. These waves of technology, you can see them way before they happen, and you just have to choose wisely which ones you’re going to surf. It takes years.”
People tend to assume technology evolves linearly—growing at the same rate over time—but it develops exponentially instead. Some examples of exponential technologies include 5G networks, 3D printing, robotics, and blockchain. As the speed of technological innovation increases, it creates frustration in product development. People perceive a gap between expectations and performance, then quickly learn the products are not the problem. We inflate our expectations beyond what technology delivers. Despite uncertainties in the environment, the emerging tech follows an exponential growth and improves until it reaches a pivotal moment of breakthroughs.
For many, the pivot point may be challenging to foresee, and companies are caught unprepared. With market research observation, we know breakthroughs happen for a number of reasons. The moment is often tied to technology becoming cheap enough to reach mass consumption. In other words, a breakthrough occurs when a component becomes more viable with a combination of factors, creating the perfect environment to throw the innovation into disrupter status.
The phenomenon played out clearly in smartphone market. When the iPhone arrived, that changed everything. We live in a time when anything and everything is possible. Modern technologies drive the future and bring endless learning opportunities to the next generations. To prepare ADP for the next move in the industry, my team continues to develop, recognizing the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The Future of Learning: HCM Systems
The future of learning will involve more personalization and customization based on learning styles, competencies, and preferences. In other words, artificial intelligence (AI) and adaptive learning are the future. These powerful technologies will affect both humans and machines in the coming years. Our goal at ADP is to develop a combination of tools that harness the power of AI and facilitate learning, ensuring companies and employees grow at a fast, steady pace.
The job market is shifting due to the broad impact of AI, automation, and robotics. There is a reduced demand for specific jobs, such as factory roles that can be automated. On the other hand, there is an increasing demand for particular jobs that belong in the future. According to the report by the Institute for the Future, 85% of the jobs in 2030 do not exist yet. It’s time for leaders to identify skills gaps based on current trends to prepare organizations and professionals.
In fact, we might be heading towards a disruptive breakthrough in artificial intelligence and data usage in human capital management (HCM). We are not far from a pivotal point, meaning we can expect many advancements with the power of AI and data information in HCM for the upcoming years.
As an industry leader, ADP looks forward to the future. My team supports innovation through our mantra — always designing for people. HCM solutions provide opportunities for companies and workers to grapple with the demands of a futuristic workplace. AI helps companies manage their workforce while anticipating changes and preparing their employees for upcoming challenges. Specifically, my team is working on technology that allows companies and employees to navigate a variety of scenarios. It combines traditional training and cutting-edge tools that connect people with mentors and experts in various communities.
We can’t talk about the future without understanding users’ needs. The good news is human capital management systems and training tools have become more predictive with ground-breaking developments in event-based systems, meaning they carry on as usual until they require inputs. For instance, a system can recognize users changing their addresses and further instigating necessary documents and paperwork. Another example is for the system to alert managers of a potential alarming pattern that shows an employee has not filled out a timecard.
AI’s Applications in Real Life
AI’s applications in real life are everywhere. Companies like Walmart hire a significant number of workers every month, experimenting with augmented reality (AR) and other technologies in new hire trainings. Wouldn’t it be more efficient for new employees to see the procedures before joining the company? The new hires at Walmart could see the supermarket’s organization in a virtual environment through a peer-to-peer reality before their first day at work.
Human resources (HR) managers may also benefit from using AI. From recruitment to employee experience and talent management, AI can automate routine HR tasks, deliver personalized experiences, and gain actionable insights from HR data. For example, AI may serve as a helpful tool to help track the workforce and notify managers that they need to hire more data scientists.
Another scenario is using AI as a user interface (UI) through natural language processing for seamless interactions between humans and technology, for example, using chatbots as the user interface. AI can be a powerful ally to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity among employees if leveraged carefully.
These are all opportunities and concepts that will change the future of jobs.
Challenges in AI Technology
“With greater power comes with greater responsibilities.” There are risks with using the tools. At ADP, we have an ethical committee that looks at privacy issues and built-in biases. The technologies are developing quickly, which makes predicting outcomes challenging. Nevertheless, we always try our best to watch for violations and learn as we go. The teams at ADP are investing in a well-detailed approach to monitor how the machine learns and develops, ensuring all technologies evolve in the direction we expect.
Looking Forward: ADP’s Future
Technology development plays a huge role in ADP’s transformation into a technology company. There is more capital available than ever before, and the cost of building innovative products has become lower. In other words, we have more funding to experiment which leads to more breakthroughs. We are on the cusp of seeing more efficiencies on a massive scale through AL and ML.
The possibilities of using AR and VR during the company’s onboarding training are exciting! I can imagine applying AR and VR in digital workplaces for associates who work from home. The technologies bring efficiencies, save costs, and improve learning. Workers will have the ability to see the office and understand procedures even before joining the team in person. The implications are astronomical for national and global companies.
As we research more possibilities in tech, humans will benefit from using technologies in the workforce. The foundational trends include faster computing power, increasing data volume, low-cost communications for everyone and everywhere. These opportunities are life-changing, and we’ll see this come to fruition soon. I look forward to how the industry creates unique jobs in the workforce and breakthroughs. In the future, technologies at ADP will continue to help companies and workers adjust to changes, improving their job performances and making tasks easier.
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Voice of Our People, Innovation, Career Insights
The more we understand what drives our situational awareness, consciousness, and creativity, the more we will evolve conversational AI and sentiment analysis with more robust outcomes.
Future of Conversational AI: Here’s What You Should Know
By Azfar Rizvi, Conversational Designer
“I’ll be back.”
We first heard this iconic line in the 1984 Hollywood blockbuster The Terminator, and it’s become a part of our collective consciousness ever since. It was mainstream media’s first attempt in depicting a fictional artificially intelligent system (Skynet), thus catapulting the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Then the depiction of AI went downhill. At least for a while.
People started to fear AI taking over the world through sentient neural networks. There are entire television series dedicated to playing on our fears about how antagonistic AI can be. And rightly so – drama and destruction sell more headlines. That’s the realist ex-journalist in me, LOL! As AI continues to fascinate humanity, our understanding of its limits and potential is evolving, and within it, there lies hope.
This year, we finally transitioned from fearing robot overlords to cheering for sentient non-playable characters (NPC). The most recent Hollywood movie, Free Guy with Ryan Renolds, is a step in this direction. The story starts when an NPC develops self-awareness and strays from its programming. The NPC interacts with elements around itself in the game – it starts to think and feel. While this is interesting to posit, NPCs can’t develop sentience and act beyond their programming without human interventions.
The juxtaposition of the extremes has challenged us to think about the boundaries in AI. Corollary, these strides have been a significant force behind the digital transformation of businesses and entrepreneurship. We managed to bootstrap humanity’s collective learning with these recent advancements in AI and deep learning, manifesting the true meaning of the term global village. We’re truly connected and have transitioned from merely if/then/else chatbots to contextual ‘Conversational AI.’
ADP: Leading Digital Transformation
We provide payroll solutions for over 38 million workers worldwide. That means one in six US workers interfaces directly or indirectly with our universe. From a chatbot/conversational AI perspective, it means even more people will potentially interact with A.V.A., ADP’s virtual assistant. That’s where someone like me comes in and introduces Conversational Design (CxD).
ADP’s Service Technology leadership makes enormous strides to invest in the right infrastructure and create the right teams, producing trustworthy conversational AI platforms. We’re reimagining AVA to ensure our CxD is inclusive. Our persona aims to be innovative and empathetic, allowing intelligent responses to meet user expectations. Unlike conventional chatbots, ADP’s conversational AI understands the context of conversations and answers scenario-specific questions for users.
ADP provides our clients with the best payroll and HR experience, reflecting our processes and outcomes. Our teams work with internal and external stakeholders to ensure the AVA experience has enough context and intelligence to solve our customers’ problems and help us learn for future iterations of our products. As a CxD and Persona evangelist, I relish the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and industry leaders, envisioning what AVA could represent to the workforce. For many employees, AVA is their first touchpoint with ADP. I write, design, advocate, and build an empathetic experience for this reason. We want to set the tone right for a great experience from the beginning.
The Future of Conversational AI
In one of his letters, Ernest Hemingway wrote: “A man’s got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.”
That quote summarizes the journey in conversational AI – with chatbots starting ambitiously and, as time passed, aligning more with market expectations. The CxD universe that was first created by telling jokes during the formative years of chatbots has now segued into more transactional experiences. We are iterating rapidly at ADP, and the learning allows us to create better, more empathetic conversational AI experience with higher engagement levels. While I may have transitioned from narrative film production and journalism, not a day goes by when I don’t think about the quintessential role storytelling plays in creating holistic CxD.
The chatbot market is projected to grow from USD 2.6 billion in 2019 to USD 9.4 billion by 2024 – with an overwhelming 80% of businesses expected to have some chatbot automation by the end of 2021. According to insights on MarketWatch, “The chatbot market is driven by factors, such as advancement in technology coupled with rising customer demands for self-service and 24*7 customer assistance at lower operational costs. However, lack of awareness about the outcomes of the use of chatbot technology with various applications to restrict the growth of the chatbot market.”
Good news: ADP is ready for the challenge! We’re working to humanize AVA, our conversational AI. We will continue to create more empathetic, accessible experiences as we build from the number of experiential and transactional use cases every year. Whether enhancing value around payroll or helping to create workforce management automation through AVA, we are determined to harness AI as a tool to boost productivity and enable even better support to our clients!
A significant part of these #ADPTech enhancements depends on our ability to incorporate sentiment analysis and predictive analytics to intelligently understand our users’ conversations and the intents behind those queries. These enhancements allow us to deliver a more robust solution to standard enterprise functions such as employee onboarding, HR-related questions, and global help desk.
All this gives me hope for the future of AI AVA’s global footprint allows us to continue innovating and designing more holistic experiences. As one of the pioneers in Conversational AI, ADP is constantly evolving at a pace limited only by our understanding of how the human brain works. The more we understand what drives our situational awareness, consciousness, and creativity, the more we will evolve conversational AI and sentiment analysis with more robust outcomes. As a storyteller who fell in love with AI, I remain enamored by the possibilities of our collective AI future.
In the weeks to come, let’s talk more about the opportunities around AI storytelling, leadership, and mentorship at ADP. I’ll be back! 🙂
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Women in STEM, Voice of Our People, Innovation
Dr. Raji, one of the pioneers bringing AI/ML to Pi-Payroll innovation products at ADP, shares her career journey and the different automated processes her team creates.
Dr. Raji came from a lower-middle-class family in which both of her parents did not receive high school diplomas. “I saw their struggles, and as a girl growing up, I also faced different social pressures. Then I soon realized my love for math at school.” As she says: “That was when I made the connection in my mind, and I believed a STEM career could make a difference.”
From Bioinformatics to Automotive Industry
Before joining ADP, Dr. Raji has worked in various industries, including three years in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she worked on H1N1 Vaccine strain selection models. Her team took serology, sequence, protein structure, and phylogenetic data; they compared whether the current vaccine strain covered the virus’s dominant circulating strain. Dr. Raji took a break from Bioinformatics and later joined a Cox Automotive company called Manheim to help roll out OVE, a product providing car recommendations for online users. She also worked at a healthcare fraud prevention company called Cotiviti that focused on claim overpayment, fraud predictions, and prevention.
“When I first came to ADP, I was surprised to see the amount of data. We can produce so many innovative products from these. Every data scientist would love to work for ADP,” she says. “The second thing that surprised me was the freedom I got. The amount of support I got from the leadership teams was terrific. I got to be myself at work, knowing they welcomed innovative ideas.”
Coming to ADP
When Dr. Raji joined ADP a few years ago, the company didn’t have many data scientists. She built a team of full-stack Automation Intelligence Machine Learning (AI/ML) technologists from scratch. “We call ourselves PiBrain, and we solve use cases across different business units through an advanced state of innovative AI/ML products and solutions,” she says. “I built three notable products through Digital Transformation, using AI/ML algorithms and APIs.”
“The first product involved automating digital implementation for some of our products, which eliminated manual processes and increased our net promoter scores, gave a better user experience, and increased client satisfaction,” she says. This process gave her team a more accurate data conversion process and saved costs for the clients. Dr. Raji introduced another automated compliance checkup product for pay statements, which eliminated the laborious process of scanning pay statements one by one and automating the process. The last project involved form digitization with a feedback loop that continuously learns from overrides.
Dr. Raji’s team focuses on several key areas in their current work. The first product is Deep Learning, an authentication stack that identifies, extracts, and connects the documents. Another one is a Natural Language Processing stack that demonstrates transformation translation.
Her team helped build API services that take company handbooks as inputs. They used Natural Language Understanding models and elucidated answers for questions such as “What holidays are offered?” and “What is the holiday pay for full-time/temporary employees?” The responses were automatically sent back to implementation systems as callbacks to fill out the guided interview process.
Giving Back to Community
Dr. Raji and her team attended last year’s GPT Connect and gave three presentations. The first presentation was open-source tools for AI/ML. Another one was Computer Vision and Deep Learning for naïve to advanced data extraction. “We also showed our Associates how to interpret Vendor Language and map those in ADP constructs,” she says.
“My team and I looked for outside opportunities to create an impact. We attended the Southern Data Science Conference in 2019, where we used data to predict human trafficking.” Her team successfully visualized and built models to predict trafficking. They identified “hubs,” where children were trafficked to and who trafficked them. An FBI director attended the presentation ceremony and found Intel helpful in targeting criminals. “The project gave me satisfaction because we worked for a cause. We wanted to make sure our knowledge continues to help others and give back to the communities,” Dr. Raji says.
One STEM Education at Innovation Academy
“People say it could be engineering, science, or math. But to me, STEM is a combination of all! It is an application of each field coming together to solve a business problem,” Dr. Raji says. She believes STEM is an applied field where interdisciplinary work is valued.
This is especially important in Dr. Raji’s involvement with Innovation Academy, a STEM school ADP sponsored in Alpharetta. “The goal is One Stem Education. I was one of the ambassadors who helped set up the syllabi and influenced the type of education students received,” she says. Dr. Raji’s love for children and STEM made this a perfect opportunity for her to have conversations about STEM opportunities. She is looking forward to planning and creating lab spaces for more talents who are interested.
“We talked a lot about my background and where I came from. My life is a lesson itself. If you have a dream, don’t give up,” she says. Dr. Raji believes the secret of life is to fall seven times and get up on the eighth. For those pursuing data science, she recommends thinking outside the box and approaching problems from different perspectives. “Keep in mind being a data scientist means spending substantial time in data prep, data cleaning, deployment, and data quality checking. Patience is critical as each of the tasks is essential in building a complete model,” she says. “There will be challenges and disappointments, but don’t lose faith. Keep learning and chase your dreams.”
Dr. Raji is looking forward to inspiring more people and attracting more talents to ADP. To her, #ADPTech is innovative, supportive, and welcoming. Her team wants to mentor more women technologists and have more of them in leadership positions!
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ADP’s business anthropologist, Martha Bird, reports on the top five themes at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show that are important for today’s industry leaders.
With over 4,000 exhibiting companies, 2.9 million square feet of exhibit space, attracting more than 180,000 attendees and 307 Fortune 500 companies, there was a lot to take in at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Some of the most innovative technologies to come included a flying taxi (Hyundai), electric multi-modal transportation, electric vertical take-off and landing craft (Uber), cool and creepy robotics, green and sustainability tech, 8K bezel-less TVs (Samsung), AI attended drive thru (McDonald’s lab), 150 digital health exhibitors and so much more. Within this tech frenzy, it was my great pleasure to represent ADP on stage and in studio where I discussed how natural language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence (NLP/ML and AI), in general, is impacting the workplace – the tools, the processes and the people.
While it was impossible to see everything given the sheer magnitude of the event, there are some high-level reflections on what I consider to be the pervasive themes from this year’s event that industry leaders should keep their eyes and ears open for moving into 2020. These are my top five:
1. 5G: Data, data, and more data
On the CES floor, data was the common denominator across products and services on display and those demoed. Given the explosion of data contingent technologies, online privacy and security was a central talking point. How different regions address security concerns around data and privacy was less explicitly articulated although a continuum of highly private to blatantly public could be surmised. Along with a definite trend toward the true consumerization of AI.
Which brings me to 5G. In the next two to three years, networks will expand out exponentially. The first commercial deployments are already being seen but 5G is still in its infancy so it won’t be a matter of simply “flipping a switch” from 4G to 5G.
Along with 5G – increased speed, greater capacity and lower latency – comes huge possibilities for disruptive innovations. There was no limit to 5G talk and imagination at CES 2020. And, of course, there were both pronouncements and announcements on the topic around the coming of 5G handsets. AT&T and Verizon are aggressively developing the infrastructure in an attempt to get out ahead of competition across the globe.
5G will be the “central nervous system of the data age,” according to Steve Koenig, VP, Research at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
Martha Bird and others and CES 2020
[Inset above] ADP’s Business Anthropologist Martha Bird (right) took the stage at CES 2020. Bird’s panel “Emerging Technologies Enabling Enterprise” was moderated by Michael Miller, Editor-in-Chief at PC Magazine (middle) joined by fellow panelist Yonatan Wexler, Executive VP of R&D at OrCam Technologies (left).
2. IoI (Internet of Intelligence): The Decade of Connected Intelligence
Just as we were getting accustomed to the term IoT (Internet of Things) the talk this year was around IoI or “Internet of Intelligence.” This new way of thinking is a direct response to the way AI is being integrated into all facets of our technology and consumer culture.
We were told in the plenary keynote that as networks grow, we can expect 5G to unlock more opportunities for enterprise. Building upon what we’ve seen with IoT technologies (think smart home apps that rely on little bits of discrete data), the expansion of 5G and AI capabilities will provide multiple nodes of data informing a much more complex and inter-dependent data landscape. Enterprise applications are expected to lead in IoI in part because of massive data resources and the ability to form mutually beneficial partnerships between OEM, software and engineering. IoI covers things like remote robotic surgery and smart cities. Activities with a heavy data lift and, generally speaking, much higher stakes than let’s say a voice activated light in your home.
3. XR: The New Reality Training Our Future Workforce
XR – the latest technology encompassing augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies. Think virtual world up, down, left, or right, and experienced in 360 degrees. Form factors delivering this technology ranged from 5K gaming chairs to sleek eye glasses very much unlike the early Google glasses. Again, enterprise will have a big stake in this area with many use cases including B2B workforce training, safety inspections, AR glasses used by an architect to design a room, training surgeons across geographies, and in travel and tourism where you are able to take a trip to a tropical island right from your living room. Frankly, I prefer the actual trip but foregoing the lines at the airport and customs does sound appealing. Regardless of my preference, there was a lot of excitement for XR in commercial and industrial settings. Not to mention eSports which realized $1 billion in net revenue last year alone.
4. Culture: Pragmatics of Technological Innovation
While attending a panel discussion on “Future Cities” I was struck by a similarity between re-architecting an existing urban space to accommodate new technologies and the work we do at ADP.
A former secretary of transportation listed one of the greatest challenges to innovating cities as the pre-existing roadway infrastructure. He went on to say that between the legacy streets and traffic patterns it was actually the inability to imagine new ways of mobility that was the major barrier.
People get accustomed to “how things are done here” and find it difficult to adapt to changes in the system. This is a cultural and technical matter. Culture, at the most basic level, is the collection of practices and beliefs we take for granted. These habits are slow to change. New technical opportunities can catalyze innovation and cultural change, but this process is never a one-to-one.
Which brings me to humans.
5. Humans: Agency in a Data-driven Era
Humans (people like you and me) when faced with the explosion of new technologies – tech that augments our vision, our speech, our bodies and, even, our memory – begin to question their own reason for being. The existential ponderings around what it means to be human are concomitant with those group of technologies loosely described as “AI”.
Talk of “machine-human partnership” was pervasive on the CES exhibition floor and in panels and keynotes. For my part, I welcome the question as it points to a shared humanity that we often overlook. Yes, partnerships between people and technology will continue to evolve. Who has agency over the relationship will remain a critical point of personal reflection and public debate.