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The Tech Trifecta: Santiago Tacoronte on Computers, Internet, and AI Transformations

Mon 20 May 2024

In an interview ahead of Big Data and AI World, Santiago Tacoronte, Director of Data and Analytics for Europe and Eastern Europe at Mondelez International, shared his insights on three pivotal inventions that have dramatically shaped our world: computers, the Internet, and artificial intelligence (AI).

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The Genesis: Computers

Tacoronte began by highlighting the profound impact of computers, which he considers the starting point of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Reflecting on his early interactions with computers, Tacoronte recalled a moment of awe when he first encountered an HP computer in his early twenties.

“When I saw the first applications on that screen on the first basic games I thought ‘Wow, that is going to change the world,” added Tacoronte.

This experience ignited his passion for the digital world, leading him to appreciate the potential of computers to extend human intelligence and automate tasks.

“I think that the computers were the start of all this revolution and they help us become more productive and help us to interact with machines differently,” said Tacoronte.

The Interconnectivity Revolution: The Internet

Building on the foundation laid by computers, Tacoronte discussed the transformative power of the Internet. While computers enabled individual productivity, the Internet interconnected the world, revolutionising how we communicate and access information.

Tacoronte pointed out cultural phenomena like the global reach of K-pop, illustrating the Internet’s role in transcending geographical boundaries and democratising information.

“With the Internet, you can have literally anything around you. You can be into K-pop or you can can be into chess … whatever you want and it is there. It has been a game changer in the way I believe that the new generation has been brought up,” said Tacoronte.

Whilst Tacoronte said the Internet and the interconnectivity and the evolution of computer has been a blessing because it has made lives easier, he stressed the importance of correctly handling the vast amounts of data that have become available due to such technologies as the Internet.

“With great power comes a great responsibility. We always need to be very careful of the ethical use of data and whatever surrounds data, algorithms, recommendations, analytics, and making decisions and judging other humans with the data that we have in our hands,” said Tacoronte.

The Future: Artificial Intelligence

Tacoronte saved perhaps the most transformative innovation for last: artificial intelligence (AI). He acknowledged the buzz around AI and stressed its potential to revolutionise various fields, from healthcare to productivity tools.

Tacoronte shared an example from the medical field, where AI-powered detection machines are on the brink of diagnosing cancer cells within minutes. This capability underscores AI’s power to enhance human decision-making and accelerate innovation across industries.

He also touched upon the evolution of mobile technology, speculating that AI-driven advancements in virtual and augmented reality could soon replace traditional smartphones.

“I feel that beyond the hype … there is a true revolution that is brewing in the background and that will change many, many things in human life,” said Tacoronte.

Ethical Considerations and Productivity

Tacoronte’s passion for productivity also came through strongly. He believes combining AI and analytics can significantly enhance personal and team productivity, leading to more fulfilling work and lives. He sees AI not as a replacement for human effort but as a tool to free up time for more creative and impactful activities.

“I am completely convinced that AI used in the right way for most cases ethically and to support human decision will be a tremendous boost to mankind and all of us in our daily jobs,” said Tacoronte.

Looking Ahead

As Tacoronte prepares to speak at Big Data and AI World, he aims to share practical examples of how data and analytics can improve productivity and happiness.

“I am going to speak about and give practical examples about how to improve your life and your happiness by being more productive and by streamlining your work,” said Tacoronte.

His session will explore individual and team productivity strategies and how automation can streamline work processes. He hopes attendees will leave with actionable insights to reclaim valuable hours each week, enhancing both their professional and personal lives.

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