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AiThority Interview with Christine Livingston, Managing Director – Global AI Leader, Protiviti

Christine is a Managing Director and leader in AI and IoT at Protiviti, driving technology innovation initiatives. She excels in identifying emerging tech opportunities, developing strategies, and integrating new capabilities into enterprise solutions across industries. Discover her insights and vision in this Q&A.

Hi Christine, welcome to our AiThority Interview Series. Please tell us about your journey so far.

After graduating with a mechanical engineering master’s degree from Columbia University in the heart of New York City, I was looking for a manufacturing oriented role. Instead, I found myself at a small technology consulting company, thinking I would try the consulting thing out while I looked for more technical jobs. I soon discovered a passion for technology and consulting, and guiding clients and enterprises to reimagine what technology could be. About five years later, I became a pre-sales engineer, where I found new and interesting technology and built demonstrations to illustrate its potential value for clients. About twelve years ago, I learned an intriguing software platform known at the time as IBM Text Analytics, which was focused on “reading”, interpreting and extracting key pieces of information from large bodies of unstructured text. I found the technology fascinating, and pursued it relentlessly, building proof-of-concepts and early adopter pilots for clients.

That technology later evolved into the IBM Watson offering, and I had a front row seat to witnessing the development of enterprise-ready artificial intelligence. I worked with many of the very first clients of the IBM Watson technology stack, and progressed to learning the various facets of AI-ML and data science. After building and scaling an initial AI-ML team, I was seeking a new challenge and joined Protiviti for their renowned people-first culture. Our team at Protiviti focuses on delivering industry-leading, responsible AI solutions and helping our clients unlock the full potential of the human-AI partnership.

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What is Protiviti about? What are your core offerings?

Protiviti is a global consulting firm focused on collaborating with our clients to deliver objective insights and tailored solutions to help leaders solve critical business problems. We offer deep expertise spanning a range of sectors, offering guidance in areas such as technology, finance, operations, analytics, risk, compliance, data, digital, legal and internal audit. We strive to harness the power of AI to create a future where technology enhances human potential and delivers meaningful impact for our clients. Our core offerings focus on enabling our clients to envision, develop, and manage transformative AI solutions responsibly and ethically.

Who are your customers and how do they leverage your products/ services?

As a large, global organization, our customer base is expansive and diverse. We have worked with more than 80% of Fortune 100 companies and nearly 80% of the Fortune 500, in addition to government agencies and smaller, growing companies. Within Artificial Intelligence, our clients are seeking our AI enablement expertise to help them identify its potential, create actionable roadmaps and strategies for embracing AI, develop and deploy AI-based solutions, and monitor and sustain those solutions. We also offer core services around ensuring Responsible AI, such as assessing risk, developing procedures and frameworks for governing the AI lifecycle, evaluating and testing security and consistency of AI solutions, and establishing auditing plans and approaches for monitoring AI. Our heritage in risk-based consulting uniquely positions us to prepare our clients to leverage AI responsibly, collaborating and partnering to deliver transformative, compliant and ethical AI solutions.

In this digital renaissance, technology is not just a tool; it’s the key to unlocking personalized, immersive, and seamlessly integrated brand experiences. What is your perception?

Technology, more specifically AI, and experience are inextricably linked, and the most successful organizations and solutions will consider both as equally important. As a very relevant and recent case study, GPT-3 was released in May 2020. It was accessible primarily via API, and required programming knowledge in order to access and leverage its capabilities. Over 2 years later, a simple, intuitive experience layer (a “chatbot” interface) was integrated on top of the technology, and suddenly there are 100 million users of the technology in just 2 months. The technology changed minimally, but the experience changed dramatically, and it made all the difference in the world. Similarly, the experience (a chatbot) absent the powerful technology behind it, leads to frustration and unfulfilled expectations that will preclude your customers from coming back.

AI offers an unprecedented ability to connect your brand to consumers as unique individuals at almost unlimited scale. AI can now continuously process new information, synthesize millions of data points, and engage with each consumer precisely. By establishing context across disparate systems, data streams, and user responses, AI adapts to each engagement and interaction to create consistency and personalization previously practically impossible. The experience is, again, still critically important: AI improves and learns with each interaction. It is a self-sustaining flywheel: AI improves with engagement, and engagement drives improvement of the AI.

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As a tech Leader, what industries do you think would be fastest to adopt AI/ML with smooth efficiency?

There are several industries that are already well down the AI-ML adoption journey; for example, financial services organizations have engaged machine learning capabilities for data evaluation (e.g., fraud detection) and decision assistance (e.g., risk scoring) for many years now. The regulatory landscape is evolving quickly, with over 100 AI-related bills pending in the US alone.

Those organizations that think “AI First” will be well positioned for long-term success. This entails not just applying AI to pain points or challenges, but rethinking core business processes and experiences in light of the capability and potential of AI. This also includes the relationship between humans and AI, which seeks to maximize the potential of both by optimizing the work each is tasked with performing.

What are the critical challenges impeding the growth of Enterprise AI?

One of the biggest challenges of the moment is confusion about what AI is and how it works, which is exacerbated by the rapid pace of change in the field. Embedded in “how it works” is understanding the relationship between AI and data, which are inextricably linked. This relationship is further complicated by a notable distinction between trained AI acting on your data, and building AI which is trained on your data. Questions inevitably arise around legal, ethical, and responsible uses of data and understanding how your data is being used, both to make decisions and to potentially inform large AI models in the future.

The rapid pace of change is seen in both the technology itself and the regulatory landscape attempting to manage it. The AI CAGR is hovering around 40%. In 2023, almost 150 foundation models were released, which more than double those released in 2022. The technology is progressing faster than ever, and the need to adopt AI to stay competitive is top of mind at most organizations. Simultaneously, regulations are actively being introduced and updated to keep pace with the technology. AI lawsuits are rapidly emerging around key concerns such as copyright infringement and intellectual property ownership. Many organizations are struggling to keep pace with change, and establish balanced approaches to responsibly innovate.

Also Read: AI and Social Media: What Should Social Media Users Understand About Algorithms?

Thank you, Christine, for your insights; we hope to see you back on soon.

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Christine is a Managing Director and leader of our Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things practices, and is responsible for technology innovation initiatives. She focuses on identifying emerging technology opportunities, developing innovation strategies, overseeing technology innovation and incorporating emerging technology capabilities into enterprise solutions, with a cross-industry focus.

She has spent over 15 years in technology consulting and applies her engineering background with advances in technology to unlock enterprise innovation.  With over a decade of experience in AI-ML deployment, she has delivered hundreds of successful AI solutions, including many first-in-class AI-enabled applications. She has helped several Fortune 100 clients develop practical strategies for enterprise adoption of new and emerging technology, including the creation of capability-driven AI-enabled technology roadmaps. Passionate about enabling new technology and capabilities, she is experienced in identifying emerging technology opportunities, developing innovation strategies, and incorporating AI-ML capabilities into enterprise solutions. She is also an experienced public speaker, presenting several times a year in large forums such as technology and industry conferences.

Protiviti is a global consulting firm that delivers deep expertise, objective insights, a tailored approach and unparalleled collaboration to help leaders confidently face the future. Protiviti and its independent and locally owned member firms provide clients with consulting and managed solutions in finance, technology, operations, data, digital, legal, HR, risk and internal audit through a network of more than 90 offices in over 25 countries.

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