Mark Minevich, Chair, Executive Committee, AI for Good Foundation speaks to Michael C. Fillios, Founder and CEO, IT Ally about the role of IT innovation in improving human life and solving global problems. Minevich is also the Chief Digital Strategist, International Research Center of AI, for UNESCO; Executive Chairman and Partner, Going Global Ventures; Co-Founder and Chairman, Digital Pioneers Network; and Advisor with Boston Consulting Group.
He has been involved in the technology industry for over 25 years and has watched technology evolve over the years. Technologies in economic growth and humanity development is what keeps him motivated. He is also involved in global community-building initiatives and works with the venture capital community.
“We need to have projects of importance in the world — social innovation, macro issues that need to be dealt with. You cannot just focus on transactions all the time,” he says.
Minevich says that he avoids hard selling and focuses on thought leadership. “Show that you know the principles, the background, the market, and the business; show that you can explain, discuss your thoughts in a cohesive way, in a coherent way; show that you are able to connect and relate to the prospective people, the clients and partners and the ecosystem overall. You have to make sure that you're happy. Sometimes you're happy in a full-time position. Sometimes you feel like you need to be engaged in multiple activities around the world to make a difference.”
Regarding the AI for Good Foundation’s work, Minevich says that he wants people to understand what social innovation means. “Social innovation, I believe, is one of the most important topics today. And AI plays a leading role in the work of social innovation. Today we are worried about food shortages, we have dwindling natural resources, we have fires, and climate change is out of control. So social innovation is the adoption of innovation — disruptive processes to address the social needs,” he adds.
Minevich further explains that progress depends on collaboration and mobilization from all sectors of society including governments, the private sector, NGOs, etc. “We have to look at how we mingle. How do we adjust the revenue on growth models to have social innovation? We now have to have a new model for the world. We're seeing accelerated interest in understanding how technology is contributing to solving the world's largest problems,” he says.
Minevich mentions that while digital transformation and AI are affecting every industry, it is important to incentivize communities that are developing new products and new solutions, and help them work together.
He then draws attention to the launch of the AI Ethics Institute, which looks at aspects like diversity and inclusion scorecards, zero-footprint AI, multiple accelerators including SDG venture partnerships, and sustainable AI policies. “I feel very confident finally that — through my guidance and the many members who put in a lot of hours through our global networks, leading enterprises, and national international organizations — the investment community is joining to support the good work of the AI for Good Foundation,” he adds.
Speaking on the importance of getting leaders of organizations to be active participants in such initiatives, Minevich says that while there is a shift toward a data-driven economy, it is necessary to improve services, capabilities, and people's lives.
“Data is paramount and is core to the policy and strategy for the government point of view and the private sector. They cannot be politically driven. AI is a huge implication of that because it's bridging a gap. We're seeing that data can help organizations understand customer needs, help recruit the right talent — it could define a strategy for the 21st century,” he says.
Minevich emphasizes that organizations must not look at data as just gathering and storing information. They should instead focus on understanding what good it does.
“It's something that has to be turned kinetic to drive action results, create efficient products, solutions, and drive revenue. If you leave out data and you don't have AI to analyze and come out with correlations and projections, you're missing out on potential insights. Data sources connected to business objectives and KPIs may provide — and most likely will provide — critical insights throughout an organization,” he concludes.