Anastassia Lauterbach – Artificial Intelligence is a Huge Growth Driver





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Nov 08, 2018
by Oscar Tollast
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Anastassia Lauterbach – Artificial Intelligence is a Huge Growth Driver

Technology strategist discusses the need for diversity, courage, and leadership in the boardroom Anastassia Lauterbach at Salzburg Global Seminar

“Artificial Intelligence brings you layers of problem-solving into a business, and it’s a huge growth driver,” says Anastassia Lauterbach, international technology strategist, advisor, and entrepreneur.

The director of Dun & Bradstreet, and chief executive officer of 1AU-Ventures, is trying to help more people understand the benefits artificial intelligence can bring to their work. For Lauterbach, the paybacks are massive.

As a participant at the latest program of the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance ForumBrave New World: How Can Corporate Governance Adapt? – Lauterbach tried to make this point clear. She said, “Technology is not beautiful for the sake of technology. Technology is just a tool to facilitate certain things, and AI definitely can facilitate growth.”

In her role at 1AU-Ventures, Lauterbach advises U.S. and Europe-based artificial intelligence and cybersecurity companies and investment funds. Lauterbach stresses there is a need to “raise the bar” on technology literacy in boardrooms.  She says, “It is totally fine to say I don’t know something, but you need to bring in expertise and some insights to facilitate a discussion, and you absolutely need to diversify the boardroom and the executive floor in your company.”

It is an issue close to Lauterbach’s heart. She thinks a broader societal dialogue is needed around education and preparing for the future. The jobs we have now aren’t going to be the same in 25 years. Diversity of thought truly matters.

Lauterbach says, “If we have just a certain age category in the boardroom, just one certain nationality of skin color or gender or educational experience, we will not be capable to shape the future. Corporations have a big responsibility to shape the world we want to live in and not the world we just might inherit because we are dependent on someone else.”

Having first approached artificial intelligence from a cybersecurity lens, Lauterbach noticed how the technology was being utilized by criminals to scale their capabilities. It led her to go back to her roots and focus on computational linguistics and brain research. In April 2018, she published her book along with Andrea Bonime-Blanc, The Artificial Intelligence Imperative: A Roadmap for Businesses. This book was targeted at non-technical people, policymakers, board directors and general executives.

She says, “In the boardroom, we need to ask more difficult questions on how to grow because growth will bring you resilience and sustainability for the future. Just look at how many companies disappear from the public markets, how many companies are being taken private because they can’t sustain under the pressure of quarterly reporting…” In Lauterbach’s view, these companies aren’t embracing technology.

Business leaders need to be more open-minded and curious. She adds, “Don’t try to squeeze people out who are different and think differently from you. To quote Steve Jobs, ‘It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.’ Most companies don’t act like this, and this is why most companies are not Apple, which is now worth a trillion [dollars].”

Lauterbach is convinced we will end up in a “culture of perpetual learning.” People will increasingly change jobs in their lifetime due to advancements in technology. Lauterbach says, “To embrace it and say, ‘Okay, this is what we have,” is already a huge step because you can’t rid a disease without diagnosing it first. You need to embrace your diagnosis, and if you believe that you are not knowledgeable about certain things, then you need to find a cure which will get you more knowledgeable. It requires a lot of courage, and courage and leadership go hand in hand.”

The Salzburg Global program Brave New World: How Can Corporate Governance Adapt? is part of the multi-year series, the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum. The session is being held in partnership with Shearman & Sterling LLP and CLP Group. It is being sponsored by Bank of America, Barclays, BNY Mellon, Elliott, Goldman Sachs, and Microsoft. More information on the program can be found here.

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