Cover image for Cloud Wars Live podcast: Ben Rewis: AI's Dilemma Is Balancing Incredible Potential with Real Danger
Cover image for Cloud Wars Live podcast: Ben Rewis: AI's Dilemma Is Balancing Incredible Potential with Real Danger

Ben Rewis: AI’s Dilemma Is Balancing Incredible Potential with Real Danger

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For this episode of Cloud Wars Live, we talk with Ben Rewis. For the past 35 years, Ben has been a leader in the development and deployment of cutting-edge enterprise technology within large financial-services companies. With a renewed passion for AI, Ben is now advising companies ranging from startups to global corporations on digital transformation and the massive opportunities around innovative uses of AI. A surfer buddy of Cloud Wars Live monthly guest Christopher Lochhead, Ben joins us today to share some compelling ideas on AI’s vast potential for both good and evil.

Ben started his journey into technology innovation working in first insurance and then credit card transactions. Quickly, he recognized that the underlying technologies and the reliance on deep learning was shared across quite different industries—which led Ben ultimately to a career in consulting around AI.

He says as a student of tech, he already sees AI making a big difference in lots of industries, including healthcare, automotive, financial services, retail, telecommunications, and manufacturing. As just one example, Ben talks about his consulting work for the ag-tech industry. In the past, farmers focused on a plot of land. A little while later, they could narrow their focus to an individual tree. Today, AI and deep learning capabilities are allowing farmers to focus on a square centimeter of an apple blossom. That’s 1,000X or 10,000X transformation, Ben says.

AI can do miraculous things. But on the other side of the coin, it also presents a heady dose of risk. Ben and I talk about things like miniature drones, which just like nukes could get into the wrong hands. Ben says this is the most pressing ethical issue we face around safety, particularly given what war represents for our planet. Overall, Ben believes that the need for policy and control and regulation is not keeping pace with that of innovation and invention, particularly around AI. He wants the mindset to shift from a narrow focus on the a monetary point of view to a deeper understanding how a platform interacts with multiple stakeholders, hopefully in a positive way.

Ben says he loves working with teams that are doing digital transformation—whether Fortune 100 or a startup. Check out his website if you want to learn more or talk about an upcoming project:

You can also stream this episode in audio-only format:

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