Cognitive Intelligence

OTTO Interview: Michaela Regneri on Corporate-Scale AI

Michaela Regneri
Product Manager BI Analytics, OTTO

Michaela Regneri
Product Manager BI Analytics, OTTO

Prior to Cognitive Business Automation in September, we.CONECT spoke with speaker Michaela Regneri, Product Manager BI Analytics, OTTO.
Michaela Regneri is passionate about artificial intelligence, especially cognitive computing involving natural language, visual information and other modes of human-computer interaction. After her PhD in Computational Linguistics, she worked at DER SPIEGEL on semantic technologies for the newsroom. In her current role as a product manager for BI Analytics at the German online retailer OTTO, she designs & challenges large-scale AI approaches for a wide variety of E-Commerce use cases.

we.CONECT: What does the future look like for businesses in terms of AI and cognitive technologies?

Michaela Regneri: I think this depends on the business. Overall, the whole business landscape will change massively: some businesses might perish with automation, but many more new businesses will come up. Innovation will become incredibly fast-paced (because AI will help to develop better AI), and any business that wants to survive needs to find a way to keep up with this velocity. Digital businesses (like e-commerce) will notice this impact earlier, but all businesses will get there eventually – just like any office has a computer nowadays.

we.CONECT: In your opinion, what are the main opportunities of advancing methods in intelligent automation?

Michaela Regneri: Automated processes will save time and money, and free those resources for the more challenging and maybe more fulfilling tasks.

we.CONECT: What are the current trends in RPA, AI and cognitive technologies?

Michaela Regneri: I don’t believe in “trends”, and I guess Buzzwords like Deep Learning, Conversational Agents & Image Mining won’t do much here. One exceptional movement I think is the growing awareness of ethical questions related to AI research & development – one might consider this a trend, but I sincerely hope it will last.

we.CONECT: You will be presenting a case study at Cognitive Business Automation called ‘Corporate-Scale AI.’ Please can you give us an idea of what delegates will take away from the session?

Michaela Regneri: The session will (hopefully) be a starting point for discussing AI challenges arising when scaling research-optimized approaches to more data, with less time, little tolerance for mistakes, and many people involved in the process. I think some hurdles might come in unexpected places, and maybe the session and the exchange afterwards will start a discourse on how to tackle such challenges, any maybe foster collaborations and continued exchange on how to scale AI innovation.

we.CONECT: What expectations do you have regarding Cognitive Business Automation? What outcomes and benefits do you expect to gain from the exchange with the participants?

Michaela Regneri: The usual: growing the network with people from different businesses helps to view AI & the daily business from a different angle. Maybe there are starting points for common initiatives or projects.

we.CONECT: Which burning questions would you like to discuss within the Cognitive Business Automation community?

Michaela Regneri: How can you manage (internal, b2b and b2c) communication about AI algorithms, which are hard to explain and often deliver unexpected output? How does the ideal innovation management setup for AI look like? How can we emphasize differences between human and algorithmic cognition, and how can we combine the strengths of both?

we.CONECT: Time for some shout outs! What did you read recently that would interest other like-minded people? Have you seen/heard any inspirational speakers recently?

Michaela Regneri: Google IO showing Google Duplex was, of course, impressive.

we.CONECT: Thank you Michaela for taking part in this interview!