The pace at which changes from new technologies are occurring within the business world continues to increase at an astonishing rate. But narrowing it down to what some authors have identified as “disruptive technologies,” the one that keeps me awake at night is artificial intelligence (AI).
Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen presented the concept of disruptive technologies in his 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma when he separated technology into two categories: sustaining and disruptive. In my interpretation, sustaining technology can be defined in simple terms as what the majority of us normally do and experience in our day to day: improve an already established technology. Disruptive technology, however, is defined as the type of technology that is not completely refined, sometimes might have performance issues because it is new, and could be appealing only to a limited audience as it is not “proven” yet.
With this definition in mind, we can look back through the history of mankind and find such types of disruptive technologies exemplified in the early days of our species. Examples include control of fire, writing, and the wheel. More examples closer to our current time are the PC, software operating systems, cloud computing and social networking.
Even though the phrase, “past performance does not guarantee future results,” is often found in financial documents (especially the fine print), it does not seem to apply to disruptive technology in the same way. If there is one common factor that can be taken from all the examples of disruptive technology, it is that its performance often earns it a place in the future as a current standard. In other words, many types of disruptive technology that have emerged are here to stay. One prime example is artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence has now arrived in all the fields in which NEBB companies and NEBB professionals deliver services, and the best way we can predict the future is to create it.
We have invited guest speakers to our yearly strategic session to talk to us about cloud computing, data mining and artificial intelligence, amongst other topics, so that we can be a little bit more savvy about these topics. Based on what we have learned, we wanted to share our simple definition of artificial intelligence for our company:
Artificial Intelligence = Data x Knowledge
Armed with this simple definition, we have set our firm up to experience what we think AI is in our business segment, and wanted to share two examples of (internally focused) strategic initiatives that involve AI:
For the past three years (flows, non-viable particles and differential pressures), and overlaying the HEPA filters layout on top of their manufacturing equipment layout. Upon completing this analysis, it was possible to offer the customer ideas regarding simple equipment re-layouts, increasing the air changes per hour without affecting the differential pressure level, and clearing “paths” to the return air intakes that have helped improve performance and enable a data-based proposal that was highly appreciated.
By no means do we pretend to be experts on the interaction of AI with NEBB disciplines, but if there is one thing we have clear in our strategic radar it is that we need to get onto the AI bus and pay our ticket to get on board— otherwise, someone else will. For us, paying the ticket has meant to:
As with any other businesses, some of the experiences have worked and some have not, but from both cases we are able to develop better ways of doing TAB, CPT and Cx. And to us, that is in essence how disruptive AI has been to the NEBB disciplines we focus on.
About the Author
Eng. Luis Chinchilla is the Director for OPIA Operaciones e Ingeniería de Avanzada de Centroamérica S.A. out of Costa Rica. Luis is a licensed Chemical Engineer and possess a MBA with a major in Finance and a MBA with a major in General Management. At the NEBB level, is a NEBB CP for TAB, CPT and CxPP and a NEBB CT for CxA. He is a member of the BOD and Technical Committee for Capital-Mar Va International NEBB Chapter and a member of the NEBB BOD.