Alumni in China consider the future of analytics and artificial intelligence

Richard Hodgett, Associate Professor at Leeds University Business School, hosted our latest tour of alumni events in China this month.

Richard joined graduates in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen to deliver workshops about the future of analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).

The workshops showcased some new and exciting applications of analytics and AI, such as predicting the next big musical talent, estimating human poses in a room with only a Wi-Fi signal, and predicting computer keystrokes using just two microphones. Considering there will be faster processing (cheaper/faster cloud computing), better communications (5G) and larger datasets (90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years), Richard discussed how he thinks analytics and AI will change. These changes include: new developments in automated analytics for data cleaning and pre-processing: more applications of real-time analytics / dashboards and new applications of natural language processing (NLP), computer vision and video classification; more malicious applications of machine learning and AI creating a focus on ethics and law; how it will become even more important in business to give a competitive edge – adopt or perish; and the need to change the way we work eg robots and AI will be used instead of humans for many different jobs.

Drawing on this, Richard challenged alumni to explore three complex issues using the Nesta collective intelligence playbook. The issues included how to encourage small businesses to invest in analytics, how data technologies can be applied in business and what can be done about the growing population and the likely imminent reduction in jobs. After multiple groups selected and thoroughly debated a challenge, many interesting ideas and strategies were fed back to the room.

The workshops were followed by refreshments and networking, with over 200 alumni attending the four events overall. Richard said, 

I was very impressed by the alumni I met. Many discussed their career and business successes reflecting on the experiences they had in Leeds which provided them with the skills that got them to where they are today. It was a great opportunity to network, reunite and connect with friends and classmates from the Business School. I caught up with many of the former students on the MSc Business Analytics and Decision Sciences programme and was able to meet other impressive alumni from other programmes. It’s clear our alumni are and will be the leaders of the future.

See photos from the events in China
Read more about the Leeds University Business School Alumni Groups