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Thursday, April 13, 2017

P&G and Amex, Building AI Past and Present

Tom Davenport mentioned some of our past AI work at P&G in his recent HBR article.  Below an introductory excerpt, much more detail at the link.   While considerable improvements have been made in available technology since then, some of the same key challenges exist.

How can advanced technical methods (Logic-based Expert Reasoning back then,  Deep Learning neural nets now)  be integrated with business process and applied to provide intelligent, but adaptive reasoning to real business systems?  Then how can these systems be effectively tested, maintained and reapplied in new contexts.  How can decision makers and the consumer understand their implications and risks? Many of us are working on that now.

How P&G and American Express Are Approaching AI
Thomas H. Davenport and Randy Bean

" ... P&G also built and employed a number of rule-based expert systems. In addition to Peri, the current CDO, we also spoke with Franz Dill, a retired P&G IT manager who focused on AI during the 80s and 90s. He said that the most well-known expert system they developed was one that blended Folgers coffee (no longer a P&G brand). This system, Dill noted, saved P&G in excess of $20 million dollars a year in green coffee costs. The company also built an expert system that helped advertisers at P&G to use, modify, and reuse the company’s advertising assets.

Both American Express and P&G are companies that have explored artificial intelligence over the years, and while the technology may have changed, the established yet innovative approaches that these firms take to incorporating new technologies and capabilities continues to evolve. Their fundamentally sound innovation practices provide a foundation for evolution. ... " 

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