8 March, 2018

Talking Tech

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Last week we had crazy, busy but very enriching days in Barcelona. The city welcomed, one more year, the largest mobile forum in the world – The Mobile World Congress 2018.

When I say it was a crazy week its because many lateral events have emerged from the main big forum, feeding with even more discussion and networks the tech atmosphere. The central thematic this year was AI – Artificial Intelligence – it was the holy grail of the tech scene.

After watching some great talks and exchanging ideas with brilliant thought leaders, I’m now here to share some of my personal “take aways”. From 4YFN, a large event focused on displaying startup technology on show in the innovation market, my favorite was the panel with Nuria Oliver (Chief Data Scientist at Vodafone) and Benjamin Levy (Co-Founder of Bootstrap Labs), “The Future of AI is NOW”, bringing its opportunities and Implications, exploring the ways in which AI can deliver real value.

I’m leaving below a short piece of the panel where Nuria shares important messages:

  • Educate more at all levels to avoid misunderstanding and fear
  • Include competition thinking as a core subject – there is a confusion between being a user and a programmer
  • Create diversity, because technology should be inclusive



Nuria and Benjamin made important points about how AI won’t lead robots to take our jobs, but will force us to be more strategic and more human focused. Benjamin mentioned that “Scale” and “Speed” are the advantages of AI, and that humans can save time to other important tasks by letting the machines do “data work”.

Another event that I had the pleasure to attend for the 2nd year during the Mobile week was the Women in Mobile – WiM. This event is particularly meaningful to me, because I’m a woman proud of my gender and excited with all the changes we’ve been achieving in the workplace. This event was also associated with AI and the main massage from women to the world was “We want the reduction of Gender Gap also in Tech”. The event is extremely inclusive, meaning that men are not only welcomed but also expected, because without them there is no real change, just ideas and reflection.

The reason why I really enjoy this event is that the organizers (all women) don’t go up on the stage just to claim equal rights, they show tech projects being successfully led by women and demonstrate that there is not difference on how they are managed – the skill just need to be learnt and we need to show to more women that the Tech World is also for them.

Tilke Judd (Product Manager at Google) guided us to the fantastic world of Google Assistant, this invisible personal intelligent assistant, built over the AI protocol, and that learns from each query done and provides a fast and efficient answer, no matter what the subject is. We have some other big names in the market such as Alexa (Amazon) and Siri (Apple) , but it was fun to where we can get with the AI technology. Tilke showed us the commands of:

  • Voice Recognition and Voice Speech
  • Picture/ Text Recognition
  • On time Translation

You can check below some of the queries we tried with Tilke alive:


Another interesting business case was brought by Raphaëlle Dessein (CRM Manager at BlaBlaCar). She showed us how the French company, now with 12 years in the market, has improved its services by using AI. The platform learns from each past experience of its users and with the acquired data, BlaBlaCar is finally able to recommend more accurate rides for them, by clustering the different profiles into groups. Check it out a real example of AI implementation of by BlaBlaCar:

 Raphaaëlle made a remarkable note at the end of her presentation, “Investing in machine earnings can be meaningless if there is no investment in user interface”. That is so true. We see so many companies talking about AI, while they are just collecting data and not doing anything with it to improve the the services delivered to their clients. The knowledge earned by a company only has value if this knowledge is actually offering something to the final client/user. “If there is no use, there is no value”, said Raphaëlle.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) should be used for OPTIMIZATION.

HI (Human Intelligence) should be used for STRATEGY.


And my last contribution for this post are the different reflections about women in tech, brought by all the panels at GSMA Women4Tech Forum, a special program inside the MWC 2018 focused on women’s perspectives about our role in the technology scene. Unfortunately, as well mentioned by one of the participants, this forum happens separately from the rest of the program. We hope that one day the conversation will be just about sharing great tech projects, without the need to prompt the gender equality.

We had great names composing the panels such as Asha Sharma, the brilliant Product Lead of Social Good, from Facebook, told us 3 keynotes: 1. We must attract more women online; 2. We need to be heroes to women and girls; 3. We need to build the tools they need and the  relationships to support.

Asha Sharma – Social Good, from Facebook – encouraging women for Tech positions


Caroline Das-Monfrais, Global Industry Convergence & Disruption Lead at EY; Sohaila Ouffata, Director of Platforms at BMW I Ventures; Yolande Piazza, CEO at Citi FinTech; Laura Abasolo, Chief Finance & Control Officer at Telefónica; Kathy Grillo, Senior Vice President at Verizon, and so many others calling women for trying Tech, asking them to be confident, for never apologize with no reason, for not being intimidate with all the other man around the table, and for building powerful teams that will support them whenever they need. These women are fighting the gender gap in their companies and trying to minimize it, by promoting programs and initiatives.


Are you also a fantastic woman leading disruptive tech initiatives in your company? We want to hear you.


Written byFernanda Accorsi

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