Jarrod Anderson and the Benefits of AI
By Irene Yeh
July 25, 2023 | “Data’s a fuel of what we do,” says Jarrod Anderson, Senior Director of Artificial Intelligence at Archer-Daniels-Midland Company. “I personally believe, from an AI perspective, that things are changing in ways where it’s no longer just a very black and white binary thing of you have to have data in order to do AI.”
As industries further explore AI, an abundance of new projects and ideas surface, and it can be difficult to decide where to focus. On the latest episode of Bio-IT World’s Trends from the Trenches podcast, host Stan Gloss speaks with Anderson about how he and his team are using machine learning to gain scientific insights, the challenges companies face when working with AI, and how he selects projects and team members. He also offers his perspectives on what AI can do for workers and its role in helping companies in the future.
AI’s Help with Data
Organizing data is typically an arduous task, especially if taken from a large data lake. But with AI, it can be easier to simplify the process and create more efficient ways to sift through data for information. According to Anderson, less data is now necessary. Furthermore, many companies are beginning to understand that the focus should be on figuring out how to generate the solution or insight desired. At ADM, for example, they are looking at data with multimodal methods.
And what to do with the data you have? “Prioritization,” answers Anderson. “What’s the criteria that you’re looking at? Is it something that is actually quantitatively or qualitatively measured? I look at it as a combination of all sorts of things. What am I really interested in personally? What’s valuable for the company? What’s valuable for the resources working on it?”
Your team is also essential, he says. “There’s a characteristic of people who are really going to go far in this field, and that’s if they have an insatiable curiosity. In order to really advance in this space…you want curious people. They want to be creative, and they want to use their imagination. And they want to learn to do something!”
The right team members will enable the perfect alignment between people, technology, and processes, resulting in project efficiency, new discoveries, and achieving goals. Leaders need to have the ability to decide which employee fits the company vision and holds the same passion as everyone else.
What the Future Holds
As companies find more ways to use AI, employee productivity is projected to increase. Anderson mentions a recent MIT study that delved into the use of AI assistance in the workplace. The results showed that the lowest-skill level of employees experienced a 35% increase in productivity with AI assistance.
“The time committed to learning a new skill will be condensed, and that will make you more productive,” explains Anderson. He also adds that AI can be taught different techniques that are “more applicable to certain individuals,” thus condensing the time committed to learning a new skill and increasing productivity.
The potential of AI is tremendous. As industries continue to explore and develop new uses, we can expect more developments and tools that can greatly benefit industries from enhancing productivity in the workplace to examining data more efficiently.