What a Biden-Harris administration means for artificial intelligence

Howard Brown RingDNA CEO joins Yahoo Finance to discuss the outlook for AI funding under a Biden Presidency.

Video Transcript


- Welcome back to "Yahoo! Finance Live." Lot of talk about AI, and what could be the future, depending on what industry you're in. We're going to bring in Howard Brown, CEO of RingDNA, right now, because that firm uses AI to help companies improve their sales force platform productivity.

And before we jump into what RingDNA does, I want to have a broader discussion with you, because there's a lot of fear about AI. We just saw the "New York Times" article where they actually showed realistic, genuine people who are not at all genuine. They were all people AI based upon things that the creators knew about those who would be viewing. So what do we need to protect us, if we need to be protected from AI?

HOWARD BROWN: Well look, AI is happening whether we like it or not. It's a reality. And we can either lay victim to it, or we can invest in it. And I think that's what's most exciting today is we're seeing the incoming administration doubling down, tripling down on artificial intelligence, and putting that spend to augment the lives of human beings.

So it's not really about the robots you see there on your screen. It's about what can we do to augment human experience. It's really about-- quite frankly, I'd rather rename "artificial intelligence" to "augmented intelligence," because it's really about bettering the lives of all of us.

- Now, Howard, you talk about bettering the lives of all of us. I think that there's a misconception out there, just in terms of the impact that AI could have, what that means for the workforce here, going forward. Are a lot of those fears not actually-- are they not fact-based? Are they not going to, actually, I guess, come to fruition?

HOWARD BROWN: No, I wouldn't say that they aren't going to come to fruition. There's certainly some jobs that will absolutely be lost to automation. There will be jobs that, quite frankly, aren't necessary with robotics.

Having said that, we will be able to bring down the cost of manufacturing, and therefore improve the bottom line. Which hopefully will lead to hiring more skilled workers, more-- more-- more individuals that will be providing human-to-human experience, because that's really the direction we're going.

The idea of artificial intelligence is really about doing things faster, doing things better. I think about AI and how it's making a huge difference right now with coronavirus, right. We have this vaccine. There's no way we would have been able to advance the vaccine and accelerate our time to market if we didn't have artificial intelligence to crunch the billions of molecules that we each have, and figure out which proteins are working.

So there is amazing new areas, whether it's alternative energy, advancements in medicine and drugs, the idea that we can use AI to retrain our workforce. Because, quite frankly, we can use AI for augmented learning. Within RingDNA, we know who to train-- what sales reps need training-- based on their performance. We're able to surface that insight and help reps perform better. And that's the idea. It's harnessing artificial intelligence to improve our abilities.

- Howard, let's talk about what RingDNA does. You just hit upon it. But isn't the ultimate metric to measure performance of someone in sales the dollars-- in the United States-- at the end of the day? What else are you looking at? And how does your firm and AI improve that?

HOWARD BROWN: Yeah, well certainly the dollars that are generated from sales are important. But let's face it. Companies that succeed today aren't just the ones that earn that initial sale. It's really about repeating revenue, recurring revenue. It's about making sure your customers have the best possible experience with your brand.

We have moved from a sales economy, a product economy, to, really, economy of user experience. This is the experience economy. And brands that will win are those that are providing the best experience.

And so figuring out what our customers, our consumers, want and need, and understanding how to deliver that in a timely fashion. Instead of pushing sales products or services on them, figuring out what they need, and when, is really what the new buying journey is about.

So rather than looking at sales, which is, quite frankly, hundreds of years old. Yeah, we've thrown a lot of technology at it. But what we have not done is taken that technology and hone it to make the sales process match the customer needs. And that's what it's all about today.

- Howard Brown is CEO of RingDNA. We appreciate your being here on "Yahoo! Finance Live." All the best to you.