Generative AI: from chicken fries to the corporate team

Estimated read time 6 min read

Generative AI: from chicken fries to the corporate team

Report at the Morning of Data & AI, Paris – In 2018, Orange acquired the data and artificial intelligence specialist Business & Decision. An incongruity for a connectivity provider? Not in the opinion of Michael Deheneffe, the director of innovation of the consulting firm.

“Orange’s main job is Data. Initially, the operator was carrying voice. Since then, it has been data via fiber, copper, 5G and tomorrow 6G.”Data is everywhere, and in all organizations. A technology is also becoming essential: generative AI.

19% of companies engaged in AI Gen initiatives

Since the launch of ChatGPT, announcements have been taking place at a steady pace, emphasizes Mick Levy, director of business innovation. Three illustrations just a few days apart: the next Mistral AI fundraising of 450 million euros, the release of Gemini by Google (in 3 versions, one on mobile) and a meeting of the European trilogue on the AI Act – which is also dragging on.

But generative AI is also a significant interest within organizations (as brakes). And the framework of Business & Decision to cite a recent Gartner study: for 70% of decision-makers, this technology is considered to bring multiple opportunities. However, 19% have actually launched IA Gen initiatives, which are often limited in terms of scope and impact.

In fact, only 4% of companies declare themselves mature enough to start large-scale deployments. Mick Levy perceives a paradox there. “Despite the perceived opportunities, companies are struggling to go there”. Nevertheless, it is a chance, he continues, that of having a competitive advantage.

“The first entrants will gain a competitive advantage”” he judges. And the easiest way to start is certainly by tackling uses in the field of documentary intelligence, one of the three main families of uses with content generation and interaction (including conversational assistants).

ChatGPT massive acculturation tool

These types of use are not waterproof. They can be combined, for example by making it possible to query a documentary database in natural language via a chatbot. “A call center will be able to automatically generate responses to customer requests”” he illustrates again.

The democratization of AI favored by ChatGPT, widely adopted at the end of 2022 by the general public, facilitates initiatives in collaboration with businesses. “So we discussed ChatGPT on Sunday, as a family, over a chicken and fries”” laughs Mick Levy. The data experts gathered during a round table can testify to the benefits of this tool in terms of acculturation.

“My grandmother now understands what my job is all about and what AI can do,” jokes Suez Head of Data Claire Mathieu. Other profiles have understood the interest of the AI Gen: the members of the Committees and the management committees. “They are now in demand to understand the business opportunities, the value potential, as well as the risks”” she says. The buzz of AI in recent months therefore facilitates, even if other actions have been carried out in terms of acculturation.

“Our approach consists in backing up innovation projects, starting small (…) They generated a lot of value or gave satisfaction to the operators. The use cases have really been created for the operational ones (…) Today, we no longer need to go in search of use cases”” says Claire Mathieu.

Creation of an AI committee for Les Echos-Le Parisien

The trend is the same within the Les Echos-Le Parisien group, whose CDO Violette Chomier sits on the Board. At the beginning of 2023, the company installed an AI committee integrating all professions and hierarchical levels.

“We listed all the use cases that seemed relevant to us. This has also contributed to the identification of other use cases using classic machine learning, in addition to those related to AI Gen.”

Among these applications is the use of these technologies for software development. “Accelerating developments is a strategic topic for us. Our resources are limited, as is our ability to attract talent”” justifies the Chief Data Officer, who also cites the use of AI to improve the accessibility of content (multiformats, multilingual…) and the quality of the data.

Within the mutual insurer Groupama, generative AI is presented as an accelerator of AI projects, as a whole. Conventionally, Gen AI is exploited for documentary research and internal bots, but also for interactions with customers. ”A customer use case will go into production in 48 hours,” reveals François-Xavier Enderle, the Group Transformation director.

The Groupama method to move forward quickly

However, Groupama had to convince compliance and risks. The insurer has chosen to start and deal with the legal obstacles as they go along. A multidisciplinary group called IA Factory has been set up, associating compliance from the beginning of the process. “It’s one of the keys to our speed”” he says.

“We delivered a first group-wide use case in October and two are coming by the end of the year on the customer side,” welcomes François-Xavier Enderle. “We brought all the compliance into the AI team, but without putting the brakes on ourselves at the beginning.”Of course, obstacles remain and adaptations are necessary, for example at the level of contracts with AI suppliers.

Claire Mathieu also reminds that generative AI does not constitute the entire project backlog. At Suez, these relate in particular to the sorting of waste in factories and water treatment, including the reduction of leaks.

AI at the service of Suez’s CSR strategy

“Households are sorting their waste more and more and our factories must therefore operate more and more quickly. AI thus intervenes to help us optimize our machines in real time”” illustrates the CDO, who also recalls that “AI is at the service of Suez’s strategy on environmental issues.”Thus, the profession is concerned about the impacts of deployed AI models.

“The objective remains to protect resources and reduce consumption”” she says. The resource needs related to generative AI are therefore a problem for Suez, which intends to take advantage of it, in particular for the processing of tenders. It should be noted that according to our information, Claire Mathieu is also responsible for leading Suez’s AI Gen program.

To these projects are added those using machine learning and deep learning, which are not disappearing. Mick Levy encourages to take advantage of the enthusiasm for generative AI in order to accelerate artificial intelligence initiatives. “According to Gartner, traditional use cases will increase 1000-fold by 2028.”

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