AI, Hybrid Cloud and Quantum Computing Seen by IBMs Krishna as Shaping IT 

By AI Trends Staff  

AI, hybrid cloud computing and quantum computing will shape the future of the IT industry, according to IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, speaking at the virtual Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo last week. 

Arvind Krishna, CEO, IBM

Citing an estimate that AI could add up to $16 trillion to global productivity over the next decade or so. “We are only four percent of the journey there,” Krishna said, in an account from Nikkei Asia, adding “Our assertion is that every company will become an AI company.”  

Krishna took over the top job at IBM in April, becoming its 10th CEO, succeeding Ginny Rometty, who was named IBM’s president and CEO in January, 2012. IBM made cloud services a bigger priority during Rometty’s tenure; she joined the company in 1981.  

Krishna, who joined IBM in 1990, worked on security software and information management, and is the co-author of 15 patents. He has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

Krishna is known as the “principal architect” of IBM’s biggest acquisition ever, Red Hat, which the company bought for $34 billion in late 2018, according to an account in Reuters.  

Speaking at the Nikkei event, Krishna said the hybrid cloud approach has more value for IBM clients, and that the technology will “unlock two and a half times more value than a singular public cloud.”  

He is also a believer in quantum computing, stating it “can unlock many benefits for both industry and society that are beyond the reach of today’s computers.” And he sees it coming soon. “We believe within three to five years you can begin to tackle problems that are beyond the reach of normal computers,” Arvind stated. He cited some potential applications. “You can solve problems around molecules like lithium hydride, which is an element in many electric batteries,” he stated. 

Today quantum computers generate too many errors; this needs to be addressed before quantum computing can approach its potential, according to Arvind. 

IBM Has Defined an AI Governance Framework  

Francesca Rossi, AI Ethics Global Leader for IBM

IBM is also concerned with AI being perceived as fair, transparent, and accurate. Toward this end, IBM has defined an AI governance framework centered around the IBM internal AI ethics board, co-led by Francesca Rossi, AI Ethics Global Leader for IBM and the next president of the Association for the Advancement of AI, according to an account written by Rossi in Harvard Business Review.  

IBM has also defined its policies around AI, releasing in 2018 its Principles for Trust and Transparency, a guide to its approaches. “These principles outline our commitment to using AI to augment human intelligence, our commitment to a data policy that protects clients’ data and insights gleaned from their data, and a commitment to a focus on transparency and explainability to build a system of trust in AI,” stated Rossi. 

IBM is working with partners on these efforts, having recently joined the European Commission’s (EC) High-Level Expert Group on AI, designed to deliver ethical guidelines for trustworthy AI in Europe. These are being used to guide possible future regulations and standards for AI. 

IBM has also contributed open-source toolkits to “move the needle” on AI Trust. This included a 2018 contribution of AI Fairness 360 (AIF360), that allows developers to share state-of-the-art codes and datasets related to AI bias detection and mitigation. Since AIF360, IBM Research has released additional tools to advance transparency, including AI Explainability 360 (AIX360), which supports understanding and innovation in AI explainability,  

“Overall, only a multi-dimensional and multi-stakeholder approach can truly address AI bias by defining a values-driven approach,” stated Rossi. 

Emergent Alliance Co-Founded by Rolls Royce Aims at COVID-19 Recovery 

In a specific effort in Europe, IBM has signed a letter of intent to join the Emergent Alliance, a group of technology companies and their data science professionals who share a belief that AI can help accelerate economic recovery from COVID-19. 

Members of the Alliance state they are committed to collaborate on shared datasets, platforms and tools, with all innovations models and insights from the effort to be released freely to the public via the Emergent Alliance website and GitHub, according to an account on IBM’s Journey to AI blog.  

Committed to openness, transparency, and trust, the alliance collaborates on shared datasets, platforms and tools, with all innovations, models and insights released freely to the public via the Emergent Alliance website and GitHub.  

The IBM Data Science and AI Elite team is working on solving real-world problems with R²Data Labs, Rolls-Royce’s nucleus for AI innovation. Dr. Klaus Paul, team lead at Rolls-Royce R²Data Labs in Germany, focuses on data and AI innovation for all sectors of the Rolls-Royce Group.  

Erika Agostinelli, Data Scientist & Project Lead, IBM Data Science & AI Elite Team, Bristol, UK

IBM data scientist Erika Agostinelli, a member of the Emergent team, outlined three efforts as part of a practical response: produce a risk index, considering factors including infection rates of COVID-19 in a specific region; a “pulse” of that region focusing on sentiment data analytics, measured by media consumption or tourism activity may prove useful; and a “simulation track,” which creates scenarios to allow government or business to assess potential conscience of lockdown measures are areas and businesses.  

“AI needs to be trusted,” stated Agostinelli. “Our goal is to create something transparent and interpretable so that anyone in the community can use the tools.” 

Read the source articles and information at Nikkei AsiaReutersHarvard Business Review, at AI Fairness 360 and at IBM’s Journey to AI blog.