DTW23-Ignite: GenAI may be ‘a real game changer’, but governance will be critical
Shankar Arumugavelu, Global CDIO at Verizon, believes that generative AI is “a real game changer”. Speaking during the opening session of DTW23-Ignite, he said: “I think it’s going to do wonders in terms of how we run our business.”
Scott Petty, CTO of Vodafone, agreed GenAI has the potential to generate immense value for telcos. However, he advised the industry to put in place strong governance.
“I was around at the beginning of the internet. In the 90s [if we knew] … the internet was going to be about gaming and porn … we might have taken a slightly different approach to some of the security protocols that we built,” he said. "We need to think [about and] … understand the risks and we need to build them into our frameworks. “
A strong data management framework is essential. “Have good data governance around it, so that way when you build your models, they are learning the signals,” he explained. “We have to be clear that those models are working, getting our data models right, and being sure about those sets. I don't think it's about being negative or slowing down.”
Not all data sets are equal, however, when it comes to ethical guidance.
“At Verizon when we densify our network, it’s an engineering problem. Responsible AI doesn't really play a big part,” said Arumugavelu, whereas when dealing with a customer, it does.
In addition, Petty advised CIOs to view GenAI’s benefits through the lens of new capabilities and improvements in quality, rather than as a cost-saving tool.
“[If] you’re talking about cost, you’re actually talking about the wrong thing,” said Petty. Instead, what operators should be talking about is velocity: “IT is the bottleneck of the company. There is far more demand for new capabilities. GenAI will unlock velocity … [and] will allow you to do more for the business,” he said.
The secondary benefit is quality, Petty said. “You need to be translating what you’re producing into a much better quality experience either for customers, [or] improving the quality of the code that you produce,” said Petty. “You really need to be talking to business about those two vectors because if you end up in a cost play, you’ll actually find yourself totally outsourced.”