AI Masters 2019 – Interview Dirk Ploss

Dirk PlossWhat does a technology scout actually do? What is your job at Beiersdorf?

My three main areas of responsibility are scouting and collaboration with startups, prototyping new digital technologies and developing digital business models.

Where exactly does artificial intelligence come into play?

At all three points. This year, for example, we have already implemented several pilots with startups using AI, for example in the mass analysis of customer evaluations. For example, we are currently developing a baby chatbot that will answer all questions – including natural language questions – about pregnancy, childbirth and child care.

In which situation did you have your most formative experience with AI and what was that?

That was when I was 15 years old (a damn long time ago), when I had on my Commodore C-64 (a home computer of the 80s) an implementation of the old wheat tree program ELIZA (original from 1966). I was totally fascinated how the machine could obviously “understand” my input and ask questions. Of course I know today that this was more of an AI simulation, but it was impressive in any case.

Is Germany a good location for companies that want to develop AI?

Yes, I trust in the tradition of research and development in Germany, which can ensure that we do not completely lose touch with China, the USA and Israel. However, it will not be an easy path.

Five years into the future: Where will the use of AI be taken for granted?

Almost everywhere – I believe that almost all areas of life and industries are very deeply penetrated by AI. It’s simply a question of efficiency; what a machine can do, it can do faster and better than people in case of doubt.

What do you expect from AI Masters?

Exciting insights and, above all, good discussions about practical use and the horizons of development.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator, an AI created in Germany