Top CMSWire Contributors 2023: Spotlight on Frank Palermo
This is part of our end-of-year series celebrating our top CMSWire Contributors of the Year for 2023. These are regular CMSWire Contributors whose articles this year greatly resonated with our community of professionals. These Contributors simply serve as great ambassadors of our brand in the world of marketing and customer experience.
- Palermo’s expert analysis. Navigating AI governance with a balance between innovation and regulation for future tech.
- Generative AI Evolution predicted. Shift from initial experimentation to significant impact across various industries.
- Digital marketing revolution. Overcoming challenges in integrating AI for enhanced creativity and productivity.
Frank Palermo’s passionate about AI, especially in how it impacts business. Palermo, in his insightful article “Executive Order on AI: A Needed Step or Kitchen-Sink AI Governance?” delves into the complexities and nuances of this very topic. As a digital experience expert as head of the Global Technical Solutions Group at Virtusa and with a keen eye for the intersection of technology and policy, Palermo expertly navigates the intricacies of President Biden’s recent executive order on AI.
His article, a blend of critical analysis and forward-thinking insight, not only examines the potential impacts of the executive order but also raises pertinent questions about its implementation and future implications. Palermo’s piece is more than a mere commentary; it’s a deep dive into the evolving landscape of AI governance, balancing between innovation and regulation. His expertise, shaped by years of experience in the field, comes through as he addresses the challenges and opportunities presented by AI in today’s world.
And this is what Frank does so well.
Frank, writing for CMSWire, leverages his profound understanding of digital technologies to offer readers a nuanced perspective on AI’s current state and its potential trajectory. Through his narrative, he skillfully presents a multi-dimensional view of AI governance, discussing its implications for businesses, governments, and the broader tech community. His articles are must-reads for anyone interested in the future of AI and its regulatory environment.
Q&A With Frank Palermo
AI Governance: Data, Science, and Policy Evolution
In light of your article on the executive order on AI, what are the key elements of effective AI governance, and how do you think governmental policies should evolve to keep pace with AI advancements?
The foundation of AI governance really starts with proper data governance and an understanding of the data lineage.
Data scientists are at the heart of developing AI models. While they provide deep experience in data relationships and logic, they may not have enough business acumen or context to understand the nuances of the data anomalies that can cause bias and model drift. The quality of predictions depends on the data you feed into the model. Tracking model drift is a key aspect of AI governance which requires keeping a constant pulse on the movement and context of your data. A proper AI governance framework should provide proper ongoing data transparency.
The government’s role in AI governance will continue to evolve as the technology matures. Currently, they are providing key principles and blueprints for an AI such as the AI Bill of Rights, which is useful in setting the foundational guidelines for responsible AI development while preserving open innovation and collaboration. The level of governmental oversight required is still not clear, but I expect something similar to the FTC or FCC will emerge for as a governing body for AI.
GenAI’s Future: Experimentation to Impact in Industries
Based on your insights into generative AI technologies, how do you see these technologies evolving in the near future, and what impact might they have on various industries?
2023 was the year of GenAI experimentation. The buzz around GenAI was a catalyst in boardrooms across the world to activate exploration. In some ways, it was a technical solution in search of problems and real business use cases.
We spent much of the year helping clients identify practical use cases and assist in the experimentation of GenAI solutions. Most of these centered around chatbots, service assistance, image classification, document validation and classification, marketing asset and campaign automation and automated information retrieval.
As we move into 2024, we’ll begin to see some of these experiments starting to gain momentum and begin some limited roll out. We are probably still far away from large-scale production class GenAI solutions.
The first wave of applications will likely center around worker productivity, with developer productivity being a big focus. The acceptance of these solutions is the realization that the worker of the future is not actually competing with an AI system for their job, but rather another worker who is being augmented with AI enabling higher levels of productivity.
As an example, companies like Microsoft have launched their Co-Pilot AI assistants to aid users in their productivity. It works across the product line with productivity applications such as Word and Excel. However, it gets really interesting for developers as it has the potential to drive significant productivity increases — currently being estimated up to 30%. This would have a huge impact for businesses as they continue to figure out ways to do more with less.
AI Power Struggle: OpenAI Drama to Tech Evolution
From your perspective, what factors are contributing to the current jockeying for dominance in the field of generative AI, and how might this shape the future of the technology?
Shockwaves went through the AI community at the end of November as OpenAI’s board mysteriously ousted CEO Sam Altman without providing any transparency on the cause. The drama that ensued in the following week was nothing Silicon Valley had ever seen before. In a shrewd move, Satya Nadella quickly appointed Sam Altman as head of a newly formed AI division to protect their AI interests. However, a petition of over 700 OpenAI employees threatening to leave if Altman was not re-appointed made the board reverse its decision and reappoint Altman as CEO. In the blink of an eye, OpenAI’s current AI dominance almost vanished.
OpenAI created a call to action across the big tech companies to accelerate their strategies around AI. Meta, Google, X (formerly Twitter) have all responded with significant GenAI platforms. Google’s Gemini was launched this month and is rumored to outperform GPT 3.5 and possibly even GPT 4. Grok was launched by X and has direct access to X’s data repository making the responses more natural and conversational. Meta released its Llama 2 powered assistant called Meta AI.
Similar to the evolution of cloud services, GenAI capabilities will also become part of the computing infrastructure. They will evolve to be as ubiquitous and virtualized as cloud based storage and computing is today. In the future applications will be able to rapidly embed GenAI capability, making all applications more intelligent.
GenAI’s History Shapes Its Future Potential
How does understanding the history of generative AI help in comprehending its current and future potential?
There is an old saying that history repeats itself. Many people don’t have an appreciation for the long eight-plus decade journey that AI has been through with many ups and downs along the way. Periods of tremendous progress were frequently followed by disillusionment and hyped expectations (a phrase coined as the “AI Winter”).
This past decade has seen tremendous progress in deep learning, neural networks and new architectures such as the modern transformer architecture that powers many of the large language models. The power of these GenAI platforms is as extreme as the introduction of the internet.
Looking back on history, the usage of GenAI as a method for knowledge access and content creation is as powerful as Gutenberg’s creation of the printing press. The printing press technology enabled the printing of books, the creation of libraries and broad access to knowledge. GenAI is now enabling access and insights to an even larger corpus of knowledge than previously accessible.
The question is whether we will see another AI Winter period as these AI platforms figure out how to be properly governed, how to remove biases and how to ensure overall public safety. This is not just a technology issue but a policy issue as well.
AI Enhances Digital Experiences Amid Challenges
How is AI uniquely positioned to enhance digital experiences, and what are the biggest challenges in implementing AI-driven solutions in this area?
AI has been powering digital experiences for some time now. Many of the digital marketing platforms and tools are already using AI to analyze user and behavioral data to drive personalization and recommendations.
Where GenAI is likely to change the face of marketing is in content creation. The ability to quickly create marketing assets such as images, blog posts, articles, social media posts, and infographics will make marketing teams more productive and able to respond in real time.
The biggest obstacle may be more philosophical than technological. Will creative teams be able to embrace GenAI content creation into their marketing workflows? There could be fear of losing control or even being replaced by AI instead of looking at this as an opportunity to more inspiring and personalized content for their users.
Marketers who utilize GenAI to automate tedious tasks and procedures, will enable concentration on the more strategic and creative aspects of their business. GenAI technology simplifies and enhances the creation of targeted content on a large scale.
Tell us something about Frank Palermo outside of your professional world.
I’m a big music guy. I have a wide variety of musical tastes from Mozart to Metallica and everything in between. I am constantly exploring new musical genres and produce an annual music mix to encourage continued music exploration.
I’m a huge advocate for music and the arts in education and believe music can be a meaningful way to express ideas, a great motivator, help reduce stress and connect people from diverse backgrounds.
I also love to see live performances. I’ve probably seen over 500 concerts around the world. I also play guitar and stay active in a local band.
I’ve been diving into how GenAI and music can co-exist in the future to expand the contours of the creative process. The possibilities seem endless.
Frank Palermo’s 2023 Articles
Executive Order on AI: A Needed Step or Kitchen-Sink AI Governance?
Generative AI Technologies: Now and in the Future
Generative AI History: Jockeying for Dominance
Looking Under the Hood at Generative AI History
AI’s Long History Sparks a New Generation of Applications
Revolutionizing the Digital Economy: Experience-Led Growth Takes Center Stage