Patrick Smith DTX 2019 Interview
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:14] Hello and welcome back to day two of the Digital Transformation Expo. I’m Natalie Turner with Disruptive Live. And today, I am joined by Patrick Smith, he is the Field CTO at pure storage. How are you today?
PATRICK SMITH [00:00:25] Morning, very well, thank you.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:26] It’s good to see you again.
PATRICK SMITH [00:00:27] It’s great to be here. It’s a busy show.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:29] Is this the first time you’ve come to DTX?
PATRICK SMITH [00:00:32] Yes. I missed yesterday. So first thing today.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:34] How are you finding it?
PATRICK SMITH [00:00:35] It’s been a busy day. You know, a lot going on. Interesting keynote from Gary. And then obviously a panel that I participated in with Gary talking about the subject AI ethics, which is a subject close to our heart at pure storage.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:49] Fantastic. We will come right back onto that. But before we do, can you tell us a little bit about storage for the sake of our audience and your role within?
PATRICK SMITH [00:00:56] Yeah, absolutely. Your storage. We consider ourselves disruptors in the world of data and data management. And the reason why we’re here today is, is the role we play in helping our customers get more value out of their data and the key function of that is, AI AI and machine learning is based on the new world of data and exploiting the value of our customers data.
NATALIE TURNER [00:01:19] So you were in a panel with Garry Kasparov. What was that like?
PATRICK SMITH [00:01:23] Absolutely insightful. Obviously, Gary has a huge amount of experience and knowledge on not just the world of AI but data and his experiences from, you know, as he as he described it, being the first knowledge worker to be beaten by a computer. And his challenges with deep blue around the Chess board. So because a large amount of experience and and to be honest, great insight into the challenges of AI and AI brings to society how companies deal with that, how individuals deal with that.
NATALIE TURNER [00:01:57] So why is ethics AI effects important?
PATRICK SMITH [00:02:00] Yeah, I think we’re seeing more and more that individuals and society is looking at how data is used and how that data is used, specifically with AI, large corporate or whether it’s it’s states or governments using data and whether that data is being used in the right way or the wrong way. And I think we’ve seen in recent times data being used in a way that’s taken society by surprise, that society isn’t happy with it and it introduces the whole world of ethics to a AI how should we be using a AI? And what is ethical behaviour and what is unethical? And that’s really what we’ve been talking about today on the panel.
NATALIE TURNER [00:02:42] Why are these conversations taking place? Is it about the opportunities AI has? Or was it the threats or consequences that come with it?
PATRICK SMITH [00:02:51] I think I think there’s a balancing act between the goodness that AI can bring to the world and society in general, the increasing use of AI across pretty much every industry you can think of. And the flip side of how AI can be potentially misused. We’ve seen it with Facebook. Cambridge Analytic came up in our panel discussion this morning. And it’s a perfect example of how people’s personal information has been used in a way they weren’t expecting. And so it brings into focus the whole topic of ethics and AI and how people’s personal data is being used in ways that they don’t want it to be used. And ways that influence behaviour way beyond their expectations.
NATALIE TURNER [00:03:42] In a blog that Gary wrote. Funnily enough, he said that AI never forgets. So we need to teach it to forgive. I mean, I I think that’s really key and it can be, you know, it’s it’s so truthful in what he says. You know, in regards to privacy and particularly safeguarding children as well.
PATRICK SMITH [00:04:01] There are so many areas. And obviously, the oil that feeds AI is data and the data sets are getting larger and larger and they’re getting more and more comprehensive. Therefore, AI has a greater and greater reach. Whether that’s in social media, whether it’s in health care. And so I think we do need to understand the data that especially individuals post will be around forever, much longer than the memory of an elephant. And so I think everybody in society needs to be aware of exactly what they’re posting and take accountability for their own information and their own data, cant rely today on regulation protecting us in so many industries. We are protected by regulation. In AI today, with AI today, we have individual companies looking at how they lay out their best practices. But there is today no real good cross corporate regulation. I think that’s one of the challenges that we’re seeing with AI and ethics is how do we bring overall control to this space.
NATALIE TURNER [00:05:15] So going back to the issues that you spoke about on the panel, I know you’ve covered some of that, but what were the key topics?
PATRICK SMITH [00:05:23] So some of the big areas clearly regulation, the lack of it and how that regulation can be brought to bear. And to be honest, there are no easy answers in this space. You know, whether it’s personal, ethical concerns within a corporation, whether it’s corporate level, ethical concerns, the pressure of the brand and brand sensitivity to doing wrong could be a big influence on how corporates treat data and handle their use of AI but then as you look at across industry, AI is being used because it’s a competitive differentiator. And therefore, you have this almost an arms race of in terms of data and AI to not just keep up but provide that competitive advantage, and so providing governments is particularly challenging. On the panel discussion this morning. There were some smiles, especially from Gary, as you know, as we look at pan national bodies that could have a part to play the United Nations. Obviously has the global reach, but does it have teeth? As we look at GDPR and the impact that’s having on data regulation. It’s only European based. It only covers the European Union, and so it doesn’t have the scale to be able to protect. Citizens from the impact of, for instance, China and a lot of the large tech companies coming out of China. So there’s sort of still a lot to do. We’re in the very early stages of applying an ethical overlay to the world of AI. And the other challenges. Ethics is. A very loose term we all have in our own mind. What ethics means to us as individuals. But it changes from one individual to another. Changes from one company to another, one country to another among culture to another. So there’s no there it isn’t a level playing field and it isn’t black and white. It’s it’s really a spectrum of grey from where we sit on that.
NATALIE TURNER [00:07:32] Talking about AI and how quickly it’s developed in such a short space of time. Obviously, our technology is that, you know, it’s growing. It’s becoming more prevalent than it ever has been. But do you think it’s an exciting time to be growing up in the digital age, or do you think it’s a scary time and too many consequences are attached with that? or there’s more opportunities and there are consequences.
PATRICK SMITH [00:07:55] I think it’s a bit of both. I think it’s incredibly exciting in terms of the value that AI can bring to our society. If you look at one of my favourite areas, the world of healthcare, applying AI to healthcare, whether it’s the NHS, whether it’s organisations in the US, allows us to deal with the challenge of scale and the growing demands on the NHS and health services in general and how we can address those provide greater scale, better accuracy, faster time to resolution identification problems. So in that regard AI is absolutely the benefit has huge promise as we look at an individual perspective. I think it can be an area of concern. What will AI do to the future workforce? We have lots of scare stories around that, but I think one of the topics Gary talked about earlier was AI on its own has limited value, AI as a tool for us as humans to use as significantly greater value. And that combination of AI plus human. Really trumps AI on its own and in every use case that we can think of. And so I think that’s the really exciting opportunity is. As Gary talked about earlier, augmented intelligence rather than artificial intelligence, it sounds less of a threat and actually it delivers greater value. It allows the human to play a part in the cycle and deliver more value.
NATALIE TURNER [00:09:29] So we’ve covered a lot. To be fair, but what is the key message that you want to get out today, if there’s anything that you’ve said that really stands out that you want the audience to know. What would that be?
PATRICK SMITH [00:09:41] Absolutely. So AI is here to stay. It’s not a flash in the pan. But we need to make sure as individuals, as corporations across the globe, that AI is properly controlled, that it lives up to our expectations and doesn’t cause us challenges. And it’s really all about control. And I think it’s it’s upon all of us to take control, firstly, of our data. And as a result of taking control of our data. Of the results that AI will bring to society.
NATALIE TURNER [00:10:12] Fantastic, all right. Well, that’s wonderful. I’m going to leave it on that note. Thank you so much for joining us on Disruptive. So that is all from us for now. However, you can’t get involved in the conversations, obviously. Follow us on Disruptive Live on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook and hashtag DTX Europe. We will be back after a short break, see you in three.