Digital NOW Program

We Inspire Digital

Interview with Guillaume von der Weid

Guillaume von der Weid

Professor, Philosophy at Sciences-Po

What does Digital Transformation mean to you?

It means 3 things on 3 different levels.

First, my personal experience as an individual. This transformation is about not only a new mean but a new dimension of human life. It allows me to communicate, work, monitor my running, watch movies, take advantage of everything that the Digital Technologies bring to us today.  This new dimension could be compared to an internal door where everything be could connect and where desires of knowledge, social mobilization, news services, could turn into reality in a flash. I really feel we’re experiencing the most interesting moment of human civilization.

Next, as a piece of my professional experiences. I’m delivering keynotes for companies (healthcare in particular) speaking about the changes brought by digital reality. Digital revolution changes almost everything, from the distant care people can benefit from, to hospital management thanks to connected devices, patient follow-up, pharmaceutical researches, and so on. So the digital transformation has also impacted my professional life.

Lastly, the impact on the world as it is. On a global scale, we can identify risks and opportunities. The opportunities are well documented. But there are also risks with AI, and they could be analyzed on three levels: the political, psychological and moral levels.

Could you elaborate more on what you see as the major opportunities and risks as they related to Digital Transformation and AI?

As I mentioned, the opportunities today are very well documented where people know what Digital technologies such as AI are all about and what they might become. For example, indefinite personalized services, connected objects, healthcare, security, training through Augmented Reality, entertainment, etc.

The risks of AI are often caricatured by science-fiction which usually gives it conscience, desires and intentions, like in most of today series. Now the real danger is that, on the contrary, they tend to reduce human qualities to quantifications, which can be acted upon. It goes from military killer-robots to social discrimination or dystopias. We therefore must set boundaries to AI in order to balance its research for efficiency with human needs and principles.

Can you give us an example where these opportunities around Digital Transformation with technologies like AI can help in the day to day efforts?

There are some incredible perspectives with these technologies. In the professional world, there is a distinction we have made between forced work and liberal work. Forced work would be on execution, where the liberal work would be free, creative and managing things. The technologies in general could take the forced work to allow for us, the humans, to do the liberal work.

For example, AI in healthcare, by analyzing X-rays images very accurately, will give Doctors more time to focus on the experience of their patients. In the legal world too: lawyers will have more time to advise clients, with AI doing all the jurisprudential researches and affecting probabilities of success of the different strategies, based on the compilation of the results of previous cases.