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An Interview with Dalith Steiger

by | Oct 19, 2021 | Interviews,

Dalith Steiger

Dalith Steiger

Co-Founder & Managing Partner at SwissCognitive, The Global AI Hub

Key Topics:Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Technologies, Digital Transformation
Location:Zurich, Switzerland

Dalith Steiger belongs to the top 10 pioneering women in cognitive technologies and is one of the top digital shapers and leading voices in the global AI ecosystem. Dalith was born in Israel, grew up in Switzerland, and studied mathematics at the University of Zurich.

With Andy Fitze she co-founded the award-winning AI start-up SwissCognitive, and the CognitiveValley Foundation.

Dalith is a global AI advisor and speaker, sharing her extensive knowledge and experience in the field of AI around the world. She sits on several boards and advises various companies in their AI journey, mentors young girls in tech, and teaches AI & Machine Learning in a CAS module at the Applied University of Luzern.

Besides her drive for cognitive technologies, she is also a loving mother of two teenage girls, a passionate mountain biker, and a big fan of high-heel shoes.

Dalith was recently featured in Onalytica's Who's Who in AI report.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

Becoming an expert and thought-leader in AI was not a life goal for me. I just have an incredible passion and drive for the technology, and also respect for what it can do for us today and what its potentials are for the future. AI is a truly amazing tool that can be implemented in almost any industry and organisation. It is truly adaptable and, at the end of the day, when developed well, it also adapts itself. I am fascinated by how human intelligence can be augmented with Artificial Intelligence, and what the combination of the two can achieve. The sky is the limit. All in all, it is my drive, passion, and respect & huge interest in this technology that helped me to be where I am today – co-managing one of the largest and global-reaching AI communities in the world.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

There are many areas that move me around the topic of AI. First and foremost, the important role that leaders play in the process of digital transformation that is propelled by AI. I think, with the pandemic, it became clear to all of us: leaders can no longer allow their organizations to be dependent on a global ecosystem that can change overnight – triggering fundamental changes both in customer needs & behavior, as well as in the structure of the organization. We, humans, are very creative creatures but sometimes not fast enough to think outside of the box. Cognitive technologies, however, especially AI, can augment us in a way to gain independence from the global ecosystem so our businesses can stay agile and compatible also during rapidly changing and challenging times. Leaders play a huge role in this.

Second, my focus falls on responsible AI – the approaches, strategies, and best practices for building & using AI technologies that are accountable, comprehensive, efficient, transparent, ethical, and consistent with user expectations, organizational values, societal laws, and norms. Third, how digital transformation that is driven by AI is to become the new normal. It is actually a very interesting topic, as we humans don’t usually like change. Nevertheless, when we look back on history, it is the changed that brought us forward. It is the industrial revolutions that raised global income levels and improved the quality of life for the society around the globe. What comes next is a step even further: to distance our processes from automation and industrialize the autonomy of algorithms powered by AI.

Who influences you within these topics?

It is hard to pick a couple of names when you have a global AI community around you that is spreading through all seven continents. I am humbled to have incredible people from across industries and organisations in the network of SwissCognitive. Our partners, clients, speakers, community members – they all contribute to the whole, moving our world forward.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

We have been talking about AI for years, in fact for decades. There are many organizations in the global ecosystem that managed to implement AI in their process, yet while working with organizations worldwide, what I also see is how many challenges it causes just to start off with AI. It is the very first phase that seems to cause the biggest struggles and therefore hinders future development. For large size enterprises, it is fairly easier to make resources available for AI research, development, and applications, but for medium-size organizations it certainly proves to be a bigger task. The reasons behind all that are manifold but, as I experience it, it can be certainly led back to somewhat old-fashion thinking and the resistance of the workforce – both of which can be changed by leadership. They can play a crucial role in educating about the benefits of transformation and motivate renewed thinking and skills. At the end of the day, transformation not only drives the organization forward but their employees, as well as societies on a whole.

On the other hand, what I see to have taken off incredibly, is the AI startup ecosystem. It is intensifying – and not only in the Silicon Valley and Israel but around the world in Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Morocco, Spain, Albania, Croatia, India, New Zealand – just to name a few. The technology from the direction of startups and big enterprises is feeding into the midsize companies. We see these changes happening today and it is going to continue. My question is, however, why not take control of this change to consequently drive our businesses and societies forward? Global challenges and questions across regions are not decreasing. We need to act, and we need to act now. We need to join forces across industries and organizations, exchange and learn & grow from our failures and successes.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

As mentioned, change is happening as we speak. But it is not yet at the speed where we need it to be. Nonetheless, there is a growing community globally that wants to speed up the process. Our organisation and the network within are a great examples of this. I am confident to say, we are heading in the right direction. What important is that we onboard an activate event more organisations both from the private and public sector, as well as research, academia, and governments to intensify our journey into the new era that is strongly augmented by cognitive technologies.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

It is very hard to pick a few. At SwissCognitive, we have been working with some well-recognized brands worldwide, but you have to know, AI is not necessarily visible from an external vantage point. In fact, it is widely known that our life is already enhanced by AI without most of us even realising it. Some of the well-known brands from various industries, which are also our clients and partners, include world-renowned universities and research institutes, such as ETH Zurich and EPFL, as well as Google, Disney Research Studios, MIT, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Deloitte, IBM and Microsoft, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, AMAG, Mercedes Benz, Nestle, Huawei, ABB, Telstra.. the list goes on. And as mentioned previously, the AI ecosystem of start-ups & young companies is also intensifying on all continents.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

As we are a cross-industry and cross-disciplinary AI hub, I would not narrow this down to a few brands only. AI is present today in almost all industries and our experiences with the technology can be transferred and adapted from one field to another. As our motto says “Why Wait? Act Now! And Share for Success” – and we really mean that regardless of organisation and industry.

What are your passions outside of work?

My family and friends bring me lots of joy in life, and any activities that we do together. Besides, living in Switzerland gives me fantastic opportunities for mountain biking. Last and certainly not least, I love art and fashion, with the latter highly focused on beautiful high heel shoes.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

By Email

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